Research Report Medicare Advantage Market and Plan Characteristics in Counties with Larger Black and Hispanic Populations
Anuj Gangopadhyaya, Avani Pugazhendhi, Stephen Zuckerman
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Growth in Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment has accelerated over the past decade and has been largest among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic beneficiaries. To date, there is little evidence examining why MA may be relatively more popular among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic than non-Hispanic white beneficiaries. In this report, we begin studying this question by assessing how MA markets and plans in the counties where Black and Hispanic people are more likely to live differ from counties with lower Black or Hispanic population shares. Using insurer-, contract-, and plan-level MA data from 2022, we describe MA markets and plans in counties grouped into quartiles based on the share of the population that is Black or Hispanic. First, we describe the county characteristics in which Black and Hispanic people are more likely to live, then compare MA market and plan features in these counties relative to counties with smaller Black or Hispanic population shares. In counties with the highest Black population shares, our findings suggest MA plans try to appeal to prospective enrollees by competing on affordability and supplemental benefits but not on quality, as measured by the CMS star ratings. We find that MA plans available in Hispanic communities are not meaningfully different from those in largely non-Hispanic areas, suggesting that MA popularity among Hispanic enrollees is not easily attributable to these MA market and plan features.

Research Areas Health and health care Race and equity
Tags Medicare
Policy Centers Health Policy Center
Research Methods Data analysis