The Continued Growth of Medicare Advantage and Supplemental Benefits

Maddie Fox

Medicare Advantage (MA) is one of the fastest-growing lines of business creating massive growth opportunities for health payers. The number of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2022 reached 28 million. That’s 45% of total Medicare enrollment, a 3% increase in market penetration over 2021.  Medicare Advantage is provided by private insurers and includes bundled packages approved by Medicare. Additionally, MA plans include coverage for Medicare Part A, hospital, Medicare Part B, outpatient and doctor’s visits, and typically includes Medicare Part D, prescription drugs, plus other benefits. Supplemental benefits such as transportation, grocery options, and in-home services have become a key focus for insurers to address whole-person care and social determinants of health (SDOH). 

For the 2022 plan year, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries saw the largest number of plan offerings in over a decade. There were 3,834 plans available, an 8% increase over 2021. The market has proven the program is growing rapidly as 11 out of the 50 states have half or more of those eligible in Medicare Advantage products. An analysis by Chartis points to seeing 50% Medicare Advantage penetration by 2025. Notably, there was an increase in plans providing supplemental benefits. Plans including a transportation benefit jumped to 39%, up from 33% in 2020 

Providing a transportation benefit as a supplemental benefit has become one of the biggest plan differentiators. Offering a transportation benefit can help Medicare Advantage programs address a population’s rising need for access to care​ by identifying vulnerable members and proactively getting them to their care, increasing annual wellness visits, and improving member satisfaction and STAR ratings. Roundtrip empowers their health plan partners to design transportation benefits that best fit the needs of their members. By streamlining and simplifying the transportation experience, Roundtrip provides members with flexibility, autonomy and support in getting to their appointments, and ultimately aims to improve health outcomes. Partners using Roundtrip have seen the impact, proven by a grievance rate of less than 1%, a 3% no show rate, 4.8 out of 5 membership satisfaction rating, and 90% less time spent booking member transportation. 

In tandem with the growth of Medicare Advantage, Roundtrip health plan partners like Independence Blue Cross, Alterwood Health, and Clover Health have realized major success. Clover Health saw its Medicare Advantage enrollment increase 25% in 2022 over last year. Alterwood Health, a newly formed Maryland-based, Medicare Advantage plan, is working to provide health plan options to individuals on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum with benefits, including transportation, that they otherwise wouldn’t receive.

“There is no bigger advocate for transportation coordination from someone who doesn’t work for a transportation coordination company than me. I’ve been in the weeds with non-emergency medical transportation for about six years now and I think you guys are saving lives. I’ve seen it on the ground. The improvement that the ride benefit provides to the individuals who have Medicare Advantage plans cannot be overstated,” shared Co-Founder and Vice President of Alterwood Health, Aaron Burch, on the latest Roundtrip TV episode. 

Every plan and its membership will be different, but it is safe to say that as the Medicare Advantage space continues to grow rapidly, the need for transportation is not going away. More than 10,000 Americans a day turn 65 and become eligible members. It’s crucial to offer a transportation benefit to members exactly when and where they need it to stand out from the pack.