1039. Plan Characteristics for Medicare Health Plan Enrolled VA-using Veterans
Dolly A John, MPH, Houston VAMC, II Wei, Houston VAMC, R Sundaravaradan,
Baylor College of Medicine, JA Davila,
Houston VAMC and Baylor College of Medicine, DA Paterniti,
University of California, RO Morgan,
Houston VAMC and Baylor College of Medicine
Objectives: Prior studies examined enrollment of VA-using veterans in Medicare health plans but not enrollees’ plan characteristics. We examined the monthly premium, physician co-payments, prescription drug coverage and 4 supplemental benefits (vision, hearing, dental and podiatry) for VA-using veterans enrolled in a Medicare health plan in CY2000.
Methods: VA-using (any use between CY1996 and CY2000) veterans were matched to CY2000 Medicare Denominator file, health plan and plan benefits data to identify veterans (age>=65) enrolled in a Medicare health plan in CY2000.
Results: Overall, 15% of White (n=254,469) and Black (n=26,427) and 18% of Hispanic (n=4,700) VA-using veterans were enrolled in a Medicare health plan. More Black and Hispanic enrollees than White enrollees were in plans without a monthly premium (82% and 84% versus 69%, respectively; p<.0001) and offering some drug coverage (90% and 95% versus 79%, respectively; p<.0001). Furthermore, Black and Hispanic enrollees were more likely to have lower physician co-payments (p<.0001) and at least 1 of the 4 supplemental benefits (p<.0001).
Conclusions: The majority of VA-using veterans enrolled in a Medicare health plan in CY2000 paid nothing or less than $50 for monthly premiums, had drug coverage and other supplemental benefits. Compared to White enrollees, Black and Hispanic enrollees were more likely to be in plans without monthly premiums and with lower physician co-payments, higher prescription drug coverage and more supplemental benefits.
Impact: Black and Hispanic VA-using veteran Medicare health plan enrollees are more likely than White enrollees to be vulnerable to health plan cost increases and benefit reductions.