2018 Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Program Landscape
Both the Medicare Advantage and the Part D prescription drug programs continue to grow and provide high quality care and services to more than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to strengthening Medicare Advantage and the Part D prescription drug programs by providing additional flexibilities and efficiencies so that organizations are encouraged to continue developing innovative plan offerings that provide Medicare enrollees with high quality healthcare services.
The data released with the 2018 Medicare Advantage and Part D plan landscape provides important and premium information for both programs:
- Enrollment in Medicare Advantage is projected to be at an all-time high in 2018 with 20.4 million Medicare beneficiaries. This represents a 1.7 million (nine percent) increase from 18.7 million in 2017.
- CMS estimates the Medicare Advantage average monthly premiums will decrease by $1.91 to $30 in 2018. Over the past three years, the average monthly premiums in Medicare Advantage have decreased, from $32.91 in 2015.
- Access to Medicare Advantage will remain nearly universal, with 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries having access to at least one health plan in their area.
- More than 85 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to ten or more Medicare Advantage plans in 2018.
- The average number of Medicare Advantage plan choices per county will increase by 2 plans – up to approximately 29 plan choices per county – and access to popular supplemental benefits, such as dental, vision, and hearing, continues to grow.
- Approximately 77 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees in 2017 will have the same or lower premium in 2018 if they continue in the same plan.
- The average monthly premium for a basic Medicare prescription drug plan in 2018 is projected to decrease by $1.20 to an estimated $33.50 per month. The basic premium for an average Medicare prescription drug plan is projected to decline for the first time since 2012.
- All Medicare beneficiaries will have access to at least one stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan.
Flexibility, Efficiency and Innovation in Medicare Advantage and Part D
The 2018 Rate Announcement and Final Call Letter advances broader efforts by CMS to encourage the Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug programs to continue providing high quality health services to Medicare enrollees. The policies adopted in the 2018 Rate Announcement and Final Call Letter support flexibility, efficiency, and innovative approaches that improve quality accessibility and affordability in Medicare Advantage and the Part D prescription drug programs.
For more information on the premiums and costs of the 2018 Medicare health and drug plans, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/PrescriptionDrugCovGenIn/index.html.