There is limited evidence to suggest any major differences exist between Medicare Advantage and traditional, fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare when measuring beneficiary satisfaction, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) recent literature review of 62 studies comparing the two programs. Nor did either program consistently stand out across quality measures. There were also few differences in length of hospital stays for common ailments or aggregate days spent in inpatient care between the two groups.
There were some measurable differences between the two programs, however. In general, MA members were more likely to access preventive care, such as wellness visits and annual flu shots, and more often reported having a usual source of care. They also fared better on some utilization measures, reporting lower rates of home health, inpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility use. MA enrollees without certain chronic conditions, such as cancer or diabetes, also reported better experiences accessing their prescription drugs. Traditional Medicare enrollees, meanwhile, were more likely to be treated in facilities with high quality ratings. Notably, traditional Medicare enrollees with supplemental coverage reported fewer cost-related difficulties than MA members.