Seniors switching to Medicare Advantage, study finds

Medicare Advantage is a popular choice for seniors already enrolled in traditional Medicare.

That's the conclusion of a new study released Monday, which found that a majority of beneficiaries who enrolled in private Medicare plans between 2006 and 2011 were switching from the main program.

This choice was most common among seniors in their late sixties, who switched from the traditional program at "higher-than-average rates," according to researchers.

Published in the journal Health Affairs, the study challenges the notion that the rise in Medicare Advantage enrollment is primarily due to new beneficiaries choosing private plans at the outset.

"In 2011, 52 percent of new Medicare Advantage enrollees had switched from traditional Medicare, down from 78 percent in 2006," the study stated.

"Conversely, people new to Medicare accounted for 48 percent of new Medicare Advantage enrollees in 2011, rising from 22 percent in 2006."

Medicare Advantage enrollment is projected to increase to a new all-time high in 2015, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and private insurance companies are pushing the administration not to cut payments in February. Read more here.