Rural Medicare Advantage (MA) and other prepaid plan
enrollment in March 2014 was nearly 1.95 million, or 20.3
percent of all rural Medicare beneficiaries, an increase
of more than 216,000 from March 2013. Enrollment
increased to 1.99 million (20.4 percent) in October 2014.
MA enrollment increased in both rural and urban areas
despite reductions in payment and the conclusion of the
MA bonus payment demonstration at the end of 2014.
Some rural counties were reclassified, due to a change in
population, and nearly 10 percent of the previously rural
MA population is now considered urban; however, the
percentage of the rural Medicare beneficiaries enrolled
in MA did not change significantly. The majority of
growth in rural MA enrollment was in Preferred Provider
Organization plans, with over 56 percent of enrollment,
while nearly a third of beneficiaries were enrolled in
Health Maintenance Organization plans.