I recently found some interesting Massachusetts Medicare statistics buried in University of Minnesota (UM) research about Medicare provider job-loss counts by U.S. county as adjusted by the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) into Congressional districts.
In 2009, as shown in the illustration above, Massachusetts seniors' use of Medicare Advantage -- which combines Medicare Parts A, B and C -- is not much different than the country as a whole. This represents 2010 data; as of 2012 the percentage is reportedly up to 28% nationwide and there is no reason to believe Massachusetts hasn't kept pace.
But by new Massachusetts Congressional District, as the above illustration shows, the picture is quite different in various parts of the state.
If you don't know your Congressperson, especially given the new districts drawn last year to go into effect this election, the left-hand side of the bar chart represents the western and central parts of the state and the furthest right hand bar represents the the south shore and the Cape. It turns out:
- The highest use of Medicare Advantage is right in the center of the state where Fallon Community Health Plan (FCHP), one of the original HMOs in the United States, has a large share of both the overall and senior market (even though FCHP is only the fourth largest insurer statewide). Most Part A/B/C plans are HMOs. This area is represented by McGovern and Tsongas.
- The lowest use of Medicare Advantage is on the Cape apparently where -- I assume -- the high number of extreme elderly drives up the Cape's preference for Fee for Service (FFS) Medicare. HMOs did not exist when the extreme elderly first started using health care insurance.
Separately the job-loss statistics are getting a lot of buzz but the real value for me was to see Medicare Part A/B/C (Medicare Advantage) penetration in Massachusetts as a whole versus the U.S. as a whole and in various parts of Massachusetts versus other parts of Massachusetts.
[I note the NRCC source for truth in advertising purposes but all the NRCC did was transpose the numbers from county totals to Congressional district totals (for obvious reasons, Mr. McGovern). That doesn't change the math. I chose not to use the county breakdowns thinking them less well known than Congresspeople names. Also note that although I draw conclusions about the right hand bar chart based on the Cape where I live and am a SHIP volunteer, Keating's district goes up into Plymouth and probably even Bristol counties.]
-- Dennis Byron