Supplemental Medicare and Obamacare
By Martha C. Rivera, Director of Strategy and Insights
With the support of Nicha Ruchirawat, Junior Executive
Medicare Advantage, which is the Medicare health plan offered by a private company, is going through some changes under the Affordable Care Act. The main transformation is that Medicare Advantage plans rated three out of five stars by Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will receive bonus payments acting as an incentive for Medicare Advantage carriers to offer better quality care. Thus, in order for private insurers providing the Medicare Advantage programs to receive these benefits, they should act to effectively improve their programs.
To efficiently increase quality care, it is important for providers to observe the trends of consumers being served. The consumer segment with population enrolling most often in Medicare Advantage is the Hispanics. An estimated 42% of Hispanics enroll in Medicare Advantage, compared to 29% of African Americans and 24% of Whites who do so. This makes Hispanics a potential growth opportunity and an important target to consider. Consequently, Medicare Advantage carriers could enhance their existing efforts to better their plans by developing culturally-relevant communication platforms and staff training programs focused on improvements in quality care. While, not all Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries are eligible by age, approximately 78% of Hispanic Medicare Advantage enrollees are eligible by age, and 22% are eligible by disability status. The majority of Hispanic Medicare Advantage enrollees are also between the ages of 65 to 74.
“Medicare Advantage carriers may sometimes underestimate the size of the multicultural segment,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “By realizing that Hispanics and African Americans enroll in Medicare supplemental plans more often, and developing the pertinent communication platform, an important impact on the bottom line can be promptly achieved.”