Monitoring Medicare+Choice: What Have We Learned? Findings and Operational Lessons for Medicare Advantage

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Aug 30, 2004
Marsha Gold, Lori Achman, Jessica Mittler, and Beth Stevens
The role of private health plans in Medicare expanded substantially in 2004 under the Medicare Modernization Act, which builds on plan experience under Medicare+Choice, created in 1997 to offer more managed care choices for beneficiaries and recently renamed Medicare Advantage. Although sponsors originally hoped Medicare+Choice would lead to a greater role for private plans in Medicare, this report notes that the program is widely viewed as a failure, with plans leaving and beneficiaries having fewer, less attractive choices when the program ended in 2003 than they did when it began. As private plans continue to be a focal point for changing Medicare in the future, the researchers note that policymakers need a better understanding of the dynamics of the system to facilitate a successful transition in this latest effort.