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Senior Spectrum Publications

September 2016

Medicare Advantage premiums remain stable in 2017; beneficiaries have saved $23.5 billion on prescription drugs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have announced that 2017 Medicare Advantage premiums will remain stable and more enrollees will have access to higher quality plans while, for the seventh straight year, enrollment is projected to increase to a new all-time high. The announcement comes as CMS releases the premiums and costs for Medicare health and drug plans for the 2017 calendar year.

CMS estimates that the average Medicare Advantage monthly premium will decrease by $1.19 (about 4 percent) in 2017, from $32.59 on average in 2016 to $31.40. This would be 13 percent lower than the average Medicare Advantage premium prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act. The majority of Medicare Advantage enrollees (67 percent) will experience no premium increase.

"Medicare Advantage and the prescription drug benefit continue to be a great option for seniors and people living with disabilities," said Andy Slavitt, CMS Acting Administrator. "Medicare enrollees will continue to have access to predictable premiums and high quality care."

Access to the Medicare Advantage program will remain strong, with 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries having access to a Medicare health plan. In addition, in 2017, more Medicare Advantage plans will offer more supplemental benefits for enrollees, such as dental, vision, and hearing benefits.

Enrollment is projected to increase to 18.5 million enrollees next year, a 60 percent increase from 2010. In 2017, 32 percent of all Medicare enrollees will be in a Medicare Advantage plan compared to only 24 percent in 2010.

Average premiums in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program will also remain stable. In July 2016, CMS announced that the average basic premium for a Medicare prescription drug plan in 2017 is projected to be an estimated $34 per month. The projections show that access to a prescription drug plan will remain strong in 2017, with 100 percent access to a plan in the individual market and improved access to employer plans.

Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act through July 2016, more than 11 million seniors and people with disabilities have received savings and discounts in the coverage gap of over $23.5 billion on prescription drugs, an average of

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