by Carina Belles and Lauren Flynn Kelly

While there has historically been limited data comparing the quality of Medicare Advantage with traditional, fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare, a recent analysis of peer-reviewed literature published since the Affordable Care Act yields some promising results for MA. Researchers analyzed the findings of 35 observational studies and found that more than half of recent analyses comparing MA and FFS Medicare show that MA delivers significantly better quality of care, better health outcomes and lower costs, according to the study published May 6 in the online AJMC. The study’s authors, who are affiliated with the Berkeley Research Group and the University of Maryland School of Public Health with funding from Humana Inc., concluded that their study “suggests that the MA model adds value for Medicare beneficiaries and identifies gaps in the field for researchers.” However, they expressed concern about many of the studies’ findings regarding the “relatively lower quality-of-care performance” of traditional Medicare, which still serves the bulk of Medicare beneficiaries.

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