NEJM: Medicare Advantage Plans With Gym Perks Attract Healthier Seniors
New England Journal of Medicine found that some Medicare Advantage plans that offered fitness or gym memberships may appeal to healthier beneficiaries.
Researchers looked at 11 Medicare Advantage plans that offered new fitness memberships in 2004 or 2005 and compared it to 11 other Medicare Advantage plans that did not offer those benefits. Beneficiaries in the health plans with fitness benefits who reported to have excellent or very good health were 6.1 percent higher than those in the control group.
"In general, the government's goal is to have plans compete on their value to Medicare beneficiaries, and not on their ability to cherry pick the healthiest patients," said Amal Trivedi, MD, co-author of the study, in a Bloomberg report. "They have still found a way to do that in a market that's very regulated."
Medicare Advantage insurers, such as Cigna, Humana and others, said in the report that the fitness benefits are only part of their overall health and wellness strategies.
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