In the sometimes bleak landscape of American health insurance coverage—which 71% of Americans rate as fair or poor—there may be a bright spot: Medicare Advantage.
New research, released today from eHealth (NASDAQ: EHTH), shows that people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans are highly satisfied with what they’ve got.
Among people who had who purchased a Medicare Advantage plan through eHealth’s website, 88% were very or somewhat satisfied with their coverage and just 6% were dissatisfied. Nearly the same percentage (86%) said they would recommend Medicare Advantage to a friend or family member; only 3% said they would not.
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, combines Original Medicare—Parts A and B which cover hospitalizations and outpatient care—with other benefits, often including Part D prescription coverage and extras such as dental, vision, hearing, and fitness benefits.
Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents opted for Medicare Advantage because they wanted all their Medicare benefits in one plan.
Among those who had previously been enrolled in other types of Medicare coverage, 61% said they preferred Medicare Advantage and 24% said they were just as satisfied with Medicare Advantage as they’d been on other Medicare coverage.
Specifically, 59% of respondents who had purchased Medicare Supplement plans—also known as Medigap—were more satisfied with their Medicare Advantage plan. Two-thirds (67%) of those said Medigap was too costly. One-quarter said they preferred Medicare Advantage because Medigap does not offer drug coverage.
Other reasons respondents chose to enroll in Medicare Advantage included coverage of preferred doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies; drug prescription coverage; and affordable monthly premiums.
Yet some of the very same motivations for enrolling in Medicare Advantage were also the top reasons cited among the minority of respondents who reported being dissatisfied with Medicare Advantage. For example, 29% of dissatisfied respondents blamed their dissatisfaction on lack of coverage for their preferred doctors, hospitals, or pharmacies. Another 22% pointed to lack of prescription drug coverage.