Enrollment in Medicare Advantage, the managed care program for Medicare beneficiaries, has grown rapidly, from 4.6 million enrollees in 2003 to 12.8 million by 2012, or 27 percent of all current Medicare beneficiaries. We analyzed utilization patterns of enrollees in Medicare Advantage health maintenance organization (HMO) plans compared to matched samples of people in traditional Medicare during 2003-09, to ascertain whether the HMO enrollees demonstrated different levels of use of services, which can be a hallmark of more integrated care. We found that utilization rates in some major categories, including emergency departments and ambulatory surgery or procedures, generally were 20-30 percent lower in Medicare Advantage HMOs in all years. Medicare Advantage HMO enrollees initially had lower rates of ambulatory visits and hospitalizations, although these rates converged by 2008; they also received about 10 percent fewer hip or knee replacements. In contrast, HMO enrollees underwent more coronary bypass surgery than patients in traditional Medicare. These findings suggest that overall, Medicare Advantage HMO enrollees might use fewer services and be experiencing more appropriate use of services than enrollees in traditional Medicare.
"However, this difference may be overestimated due to adverse selection because Medicaid eligibles may not enroll in Medicaid until requiring care. There was no difference in average visits between HMO and FFS beneficiaries, an expected result given prior findings of relatively low utilization among Medicare HMO beneficiaries (Landon et al., 2012). As expected, individually purchased HMO plans had average utilization greater (0.41 more visits) than that of employer-purchased HMO plans across all models this additional utilization, beyond the 0.28 difference between employer HMO and FFS only is due to adverse selection. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Do differences in rates of use among managed care and Fee-for-Service Medicare beneficiaries reflect selection bias or successful care management by insurers? I demonstrate a new method to estimate the treatment effect of insurance status on health care utilization. Using clinical information and risk-adjustment techniques on data on acute admission that are unrelated to recent medical care, I create a proxy measure of unobserved health status. I find that positive selection accounts for between one-quarter and one-third of the risk-adjusted differences in rates of hospitalization for ambulatory care sensitive conditions and elective procedures among Medicare managed care and Fee-for-Service enrollees in 7 years of Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases from Arizona, Florida, New Jersey and New York matched to Medicare enrollment data. Beyond selection effects, I find that managed care plans reduce rates of potentially preventable hospitalizations by 12.5 per 1,000 enrollees (compared to mean of 46 per 1,000) and reduce annual rates of elective admissions by 4 per 1,000 enrollees (mean 18.6 per 1,000).
Forum for Health Economics & Policy 05/2013; 16(1):137-161. DOI:10.1515/fhep-2012-0037
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With quality-of-care bonus payments now available for Medicare Advantage health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and for accountable care organizations in traditional Medicare, the need to understand the relative quality of care delivered to Medicare enrollees has increased. We compared the quality of ambulatory care from 2003 through 2009 between beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage HMOs and those enrolled in traditional Medicare, and we assessed how the performance of various types of Medicare HMOs differed from that of traditional Medicare for these same measures. We found that beneficiaries in Medicare HMOs were consistently more likely than those in traditional Medicare to receive appropriate breast cancer screening, diabetes care, and cholesterol testing for cardiovascular disease. We also found that Medicare HMO physicians were rated less favorably by their patients than were physicians in traditional Medicare in 2003; however, by 2009 the opposite was true. Not-for-profit, larger, and older Medicare HMOs performed consistently more favorably on clinical measures and ratings of care than for-profit, smaller, and newer HMOs. Our results suggest that the positive effects of more-integrated delivery systems on the quality of ambulatory care in Medicare HMOs may outweigh the potential incentives to restrict care under capitated payments.
Health Affairs 07/2013; 32(7):1228-35. DOI:10.1377/hlthaff.2012.0773 · 4.97 Impact Factor
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