GAO Report Focuses on Medicare Advantage Disenrollments by Dying Beneficiaries

A new report from the Government Accountability Office reveals an alarming statistic that may prompt CMS to more closely monitor disenrollments: Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in their last year of life are more than twice as likely to abandon their MA plan for fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare than other MA enrollees. Although the proportion of disenrollments by dying MA beneficiaries is relatively small — 4.5% in 2016 and 4.6% in 2017 — this trend may indicate issues with care access and quality, and adds costs to the Medicare program, observed GAO.

The report released July 28 follows a 2017 review of disenrollment by members in poorer health that led CMS to begin analyzing disenrollments by health status, as well as other studies that have suggested members in poorer health may be more likely to leave MA.

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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