Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicare’s managed care program, is quickly expanding, yet little is known about diabetes care quality delivered under MA compared with traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare.
This was a retrospective cohort study of Medicare beneficiaries ≥65 years old enrolled in the Diabetes Collaborative Registry from 2014 to 2019 with type 2 diabetes treated with one or more antihyperglycemic therapies. Quality measures, cardiometabolic risk factor control, and antihyperglycemic prescription patterns were compared between Medicare plan groups, adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical factors.
Among 345,911 Medicare beneficiaries, 229,598 (66%) were enrolled in FFS and 116,313 (34%) in MA plans (for ≥1 month). MA beneficiaries were more likely to receive ACE inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers for coronary artery disease, tobacco cessation counseling, and screening for retinopathy, foot care, and kidney disease (adjusted P ≤ 0.001 for all). MA beneficiaries had modestly but significantly higher systolic blood pressure (+0.2 mmHg), LDL cholesterol (+2.6 mg/dL), and HbA1c (+0.1%) (adjusted P < 0.01 for all). MA beneficiaries were independently less likely to receive glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (6.9% vs. 9.0%; adjusted odds ratio 0.80, 95% CI 0.77–0.84) and sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (5.4% vs. 6.7%; adjusted odds ratio 0.91, 95% CI 0.87–0.95). When integrating Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-linked data from 2014 to 2017 and more recent unlinked data from the Diabetes Collaborative Registry through 2019 (total N = 411,465), these therapeutic differences persisted, including among subgroups with established cardiovascular and kidney disease.
While MA plans enable greater access to preventive care, this may not translate to improved intermediate health outcomes. MA beneficiaries are also less likely to receive newer antihyperglycemic therapies with proven outcome benefits in high-risk individuals. Long-term health outcomes under various Medicare plans requires surveillance.
This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.19660854.