Beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage typically spend 40 percent less than beneficiaries in Medicare Fee-for-Service, according to new research from UnitedHealth Group.

The average annual health care costs for a 72-year-old MA beneficiary of average health are $3,632, compared to up to $5,960 for Medicare FFS beneficiaries. Those savings are especially important since half of Medicare beneficiaries live on fixed annual incomes below $27,000. Over their lifetime, beneficiaries with Medicare Advantage can save $50,000 to $85,000.


The Cost Difference Between FFS and MA

A typical beneficiary enrolled in MA with Part D prescription drug coverage spends:

  • $1,477 less than beneficiaries enrolled in FFS and Part D coverage.
  • $1,809 less than beneficiaries who also purchase Medigap Plan G as supplemental coverage for out-of-pocket costs.
  • $2,328 less than beneficiaries who instead purchase Medigap Plan F as supplemental coverage.

A beneficiary who chooses a MA-PD plan pays on average between $1,265 and $1,918 less than a 65-year-old FFS beneficiary in average health. Choosing an MA-PD plan offers savings, regardless of age.

cost for beneficiaries


vary by age


The Coverage Difference Between FFS and MA

Medicare Advantage plans offer all the same benefits as Medicare FFS, while including additional protections and benefits, not covered by Medicare FFS, that help beneficiaries stay healthy, improve care outcomes, and avoid unforeseen medical costs.

In addition to covering 6 percent more of the cost of hospital stays and physician office services than FFS, MA plans also include Part D prescription drug coverage, caps on annual out-of-pocket costs, and care management programs. Most plans also include dental, vision, and hearing coverage. Beneficiaries with MA who live with chronic conditions receive more preventative care and experience fewer emergency department visits and lower rates of avoidable hospitalizations compared to FFS beneficiaries.


financial protections

Read the full research report.