Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on the Continued Stability of Medicare Advantage and Part D
New York, NY—The announcement that the Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plan market in 2016 will remain stable is welcome news to people with Medicare. Millions of older adults and people with disabilities will, by and large, continue to see affordable premiums and similar access to plans as they have in years past. As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) strengthens Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans, beneficiaries continue to be protected from significant increases in plan costs, benefits remain stable, and access to higher-quality plans is strong.
Today, enrollment in Medicare Advantage is at an all-time high, and next year the average premium will be $32.60, down from $32.91 in 2015. Additionally, 99 percent of all people with Medicare will have access to a plan in 2016, and there are now more four to five star plans than ever based on Medicare’s Star Quality Rating.
In the five and half years since the ACA was enacted, beneficiaries have seen a plan market with lower average premiums, higher enrollment, and lower prescription drug costs—and next year they will continue to see a stable Part D plan market with average premiums at $32.50 per month. Also in 2016, the Part D doughnut hole will continue to close with coverage of generic drugs increasing to 42 percent of the cost of the drug in the doughnut hole, while coverage of brand name drugs will remain at 55 percent.
As the time of year approaches when people with Medicare can make unrestricted changes to their coverage options, taking place from October 15 to December 7, the Medicare Rights Center is pleased to share with you our Fall Open Enrollment Period resource for journalists. This resource contains a list of upcoming changes, expert advice, and related issues of interest to people with Medicare.
The Fall Open Enrollment Period resource is available on our website at: www.medicarerights.org/pdf/fall-open-enrollment-resource-for-journalists.pdf.