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  • Washington Highlights

    CMS Report Shows Disparities Persist Among Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries

    Philip Alberti, Senior Director, Health Equity Research and Policy

    In collaboration with the RAND Corporation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) April 11 released the 2018 Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Health Care in Medicare Advantage report. The third annual report, which uses 2016 data to stratify eight patient experience and 27 clinical care measures by race/ethnicity and gender, reveals that while the quality of care received by men and women and their reported experiences of that care was similar, the findings for Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries in racial and ethnic minority groups was more variable.

    In 2016, racial and ethnic minority MA beneficiaries almost universally reported experiences of care that were either worse or the same as white beneficiaries. However, clinical care data were mixed: Hispanic patients received worse care than whites for 11 measures, better care for six, and similar quality care for ten. Black beneficiaries received worse care than whites for eight measures, better quality for three, and similar quality for 16. Finally, Asian or Pacific Islander beneficiaries received worse care than whites for three measures, better quality care for 11, and similar quality care for 13.

    Since 2016, CMS has released these reports annually. Comparing results from the three available reports shows that the overall pattern for satisfaction and care quality for racial/ethnic minority MA beneficiaries has not substantially changed between 2014 and 2016.