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Medicare Advantage and Nursing Homes

A recent study suggests that Medicare Advantage enrollees are more likely to go to lower quality nursing homes, than people enrolled in traditional Medicare.

Not all nursing homes are equal. Some have much higher rates of re-hospitalization than others or just do a generally better job at providing good outcomes for residents. The reasons for the differences in the quality of care that nursing homes provide are not always clear. Nevertheless, figuring out those reasons is of such vital importance to families, that the federal government keeps track of these things and makes them publicly available.

They are also important as a matter of public policy. Recently, some researchers looked at the quality of care that traditional Medicare enrollees receive versus Medicare Advantage enrollees as ElderLawAnswers discusses in "Are Medicare Advantage Plans Steering Enrollees to Lower-Quality Nursing Homes?"

It turns out that Medicare Advantage enrollees, on average, enter nursing homes that score worse on quality control metrics than traditional Medicare enrollees. The study did not examine the reasons for the discrepancies. However, it is important that this study be pursued, so policy makers can make sure that all seniors receive high quality care.

Medicare Advantage enrollees should do their own investigation into nursing homes, before deciding upon one. If they cannot do so, their families need to do it for them.

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