California Community

Medicare Advantage Competition Rated Strongest in Southern CA

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
11/11/15  2:04 PM PST

By Lauren McSherry, California Healthline Regional Correspondent for California Healthline

Medicare beneficiaries throughout the state are weighing their options during Medicare Advantage open enrollment season, but residents in Riverside County may have more choices to consider than others elsewhere in the state.

“In Riverside County and surrounding counties there are far more insurance companies competing to provide plans,” said Laurel Beck, Public Policy Institute of California research fellow.

In August, a report on Medicare Advantage plans by the Commonwealth Fund found that Riverside County was the only U.S. county with a competitive Medicare Advantage market.

“Even though Riverside County was pointed out as the only county that fit into the non-concentrated category, it actually barely made it,” said Stuart Guterman, one of the study’s authors and senior scholar in residence at Academy Health. “We also found that almost every county in the country is in the highly concentrated range.”

In the analysis, which looked at 100 counties with the largest number of Medicare beneficiaries, Riverside County scored just below the cut off for a non-concentrated market. More than 80% of the counties studied were categorized as highly concentrated, meaning they have very little competition.

Experts believe the large senior population in Riverside County, just as in many Southern California counties, may be the factor fueling increased competition. Riverside County is home to 2.3 million people, and according to the study, it has 103,836 Medicare beneficiaries.

Read the Full Article at California Healthline.