Rural Medicare Advantage Market Dynamics and Quality: Historical Context and Current Implications

In this policy brief, we assess variation in Medicare’s star quality ratings of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that are available to rural beneficiaries. Evidence from the recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) quality demonstration suggests that market dynamics, i.e., firms entering and exiting the MA marketplace, play a role in quality improvement. Therefore, we also discuss how market dynamics may impact the smaller and less wealthy populations that are characteristic of rural places.

Written by Leah Kemper, MPH; Abigail R. Barker, PhD; Lyndsey Wilbers, BA; Timothy D. McBride, PhD; and Keith Mueller, PhD in July 2016.