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AHIP Report: Understanding the Value of Medicare Supplement Coverage for Nearly 14 Million Americans

Press Release

Medicare Supplement enrollees far less likely to have problems paying medical bills than those with just fee-for-service Medicare

Published May 1, 2024 • by AHIP

Washington, D.C. – The share of fee-for-service Medicare enrollees choosing a Medicare Supplement plan rose to 41.4% in 2022, increasing for the fifth consecutive year. These are among the findings of a new AHIP report that examines trends in Medicare Supplement insurance and highlights the benefits these policies bring to 14 million seniors and people with disabilities.

“Medicare Supplement coverage protects the health and financial security of over 14 million seniors,” said Mike Tuffin, AHIP President and CEO. “Medicare Supplemental policies are a proven and trusted coverage option that protect beneficiaries from high out-of-pocket costs..”

The new report describes the various types of Medicare Supplement plans, demographics of who chooses to enroll in these plans, which are the fastest growing plans, and how enrollment breaks down state by state.

Key takeaways from the report included:

  • The percentage of fee-for-service Medicare enrollees purchasing Medicare Supplement coverage grew from 35.4% to 41.4% between December 2017 and December 2022.
  • More than half (57%) of all fee-for-service Medicare enrollees without any additional coverage chose a Medicare Supplement plan in 2021.
  • Fee-for-service Medicare enrollees without Medicare Supplement were 3 times more likely to have problems paying medical bills compared to enrollees with Medicare Supplement policies. Two percent of enrollees with Medicare Supplement coverage reported having difficulty paying medical bills in the last 12 months, compared to 6% of fee-for-service Medicare enrollees without Medicare Supplement coverage.
  • A majority of Medicare Supplement (56%) policyholders are women, while 41% are 75 years old or older.
  • A significant percentage of Medicare Supplement enrollees are people with lower incomes. For example, 21% have incomes below $30,000.