Top-rated Medicare Advantage plans perform worse for minority, low-income enrollees, study finds

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A five-star rating is supposed to be a gold standard and a reliable measurement of quality. Yet when it comes to Medicare Advantage health care plans, highest-star ratings don’t always indicate top-level performance for all beneficiaries, a study by Brown University researchers found.

The new analysis, published in JAMA Health Forum, shows that five-star ratings, the scale’s highest, are only modestly associated with quality of health care experience for racial/ethnic minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged enrollees in the plans.

“It's clear from this study that the way the current star ratings are constructed, they’re not capturing the full experience of all beneficiaries,” said David Meyers, lead study author and a Brown assistant professor of health services, policy and practice. READ MORE