Rating System helpful enrolling in Medicare Plans

Seniors eligible for Medicare can either enroll in a fee for service system or the Medicare Advantage Plan, where a number of private insurers contract with Medicare to deliver health care.  A new study examined whether providing a star rating system for these different plans was associated with beneficiaries’ decisions about plan enrollment. “Each health plan receives anywhere from 1 to 5 stars that captures the quality of care that they deliver to the population of patients that they serve.”  Dr. William Shrank and colleagues from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services examined 2011 enrollment data from Medicare Advantage Plans.  They studied new enrollees to the plan and those voluntarily switching plans.  “If you look at both of these populations a one star increase that puts a plan either as the best performer in the market or at least as good as the plan the switcher was previously in, is associated with over a 10 percentage point increase in the likelihood of enrollment.”  The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.