Medicare to Offer More Coverage Choices, Decreased Premiums
October 2017 ~
On September 29, CMS announced that people with Medicare will have more choices and options for their Medicare coverage in 2018. For the next calendar year, the agency expects the average monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan to decrease while enrollment in Medicare Advantage is projected to reach a new all-time high.
CMS estimates that the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans will decrease by $1.91, from $31.91 in 2017 to $30 in 2018, according to the release. Approximately 77% of patients who are not planning to change their plan will have the same or lower premiums next year.
For Medicare Advantage, enrollment is projected to increase by 9% in 2018 to 20.4 million. CMS projects over one-third of all Medicare enrollees (34%) will be in a Medicare Advantage plan in the year 2018.
CMS projects that the average premium for Part D to be $33.50 per month in 2018 (a decrease of $1.20 from 2017). Since all patients will have the option to enroll in Medicare Part D in 2018, CMS predicts enrollment in Part D will also see a rise in enrollment numbers.
Additionally, the agency has also made changes toward the improvement of Medicare Open Enrollment. To ensure that enrollees are knowledgeable about their plan choices and the difference between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, CMS has made changes to the handbook, has begun implementing email communication, and has updated its web page to better direct customers to resource information.
“The success of Medicare Advantage and the prescription drug program demonstrates what a strong and transparent health market can do—increase quality while lowering costs,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “When Americans are empowered to choose the healthcare plans that fit their needs and the needs of their families, they demand more from their insurance plans and in turn healthcare plans, like any business, provide customers better service at a lower cost.”