May 2009: PPOs Driving Growth in Rural Medicare Advantage Enrollment


A changing landscape is emerging for rural Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment in 2009 as rapid growth in preferred provider organization (PPO) plan enrollment is coupled with a decline in the growth rate of enrollment in private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans. Enrollment in MA plans has continued to climb in 2009, but it has been impacted by the slowed rate of growth in PFFS plans, which cover over half of MA enrollees in rural areas. The growth in PPO enrollment in recent months is likely tied to changes in policy that have encouraged the growth of new PPO plans, enrollment in existing PPO plans, and expansions of the service areas of existing plans.

RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
Leah Kemper, Timothy McBride, Keith Mueller