In 2017, Medicare Advantage (MA) premiums will remain stable, and enrollment is projected to increase to an all-time high, according to CMS. Additionally, as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148), millions of seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare will continue to benefit from prescription drug discounts and affordable benefits.
Growth of Medicare Advantage
The MA monthly premium will decrease by $1.19 in 2017, from an average of $32.59 to $31.40. The lower premium is 13 percent less than the average MA premium prior to the passage of the ACA. For 67 percent of MA enrollees, premiums will not increase, and more than 94 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to a $0 premium MA plan. MA plans will also offer enrollees more supplemental benefits, such as dental, vision, and hearing. MA enrollment will increase by more than 60 percent, for a record high of 18.5 million beneficiaries, representing 32 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. Access to the MA will remain nearly universal, with 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries having access to an MA health plan in their area.
Part D access
The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit will continue to provide beneficiaries to affordable drug coverage, with the average premium for 2017 remaining relatively stable at an average of $34 per month. This represents an increase of approximately $1.50 from the average Part D premium for 2016. From the enactment of the ACA through July 2016, more abilities benefitted from savings and discounts in the coverage gap, or donut hole, of more than $23.5 billion on prescription drugs—an average of $2,127 per beneficiary.