Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Medicare Advantage Premiums Fall, Enrollment Rises, Benefits Similar Compared to 2010


Contact: CMS Office of Media Affair
(202) 690-6145

Medicare Advantage Premiums Fall, Enrollment Rises, Benefits Similar Compared to 2010
Wide range of Medicare health and drug plan options continues in 2011

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that, on average, Medicare Advantage premiums will be 1 percent lower in 2011 than today. The majority of Medicare beneficiaries, on average, enrolled in Medicare health and prescription drug plans this year should find little or no change in their benefits in 2011, in addition to seeing more drug plans offering coverage in the prescription drug coverage gap or “donut hole.” Medicare Advantage plans project that enrollment will increase by 5 percent in 2011. And, consistent with the Affordable Care Act, beneficiaries, in most Medicare Advantage plans and Original Medicare, will gain access to preventive benefits with no out of pocket costs.

Through the new tools provided to Medicare under the Affordable Care Act, and working closely with Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plan, CMS took steps to:

· Protect beneficiaries from excessive increases in premiums and cost sharing through aggressive bid reviews;

· Consolidate low enrollment and duplicative plans so beneficiaries have meaningful differences between plans offered by the same organization;

· Set limits on out-of-pocket expenses;

· Cover preventive services with no cost sharing; and

· Limit plan cost sharing for skilled nursing care, chemotherapy and renal dialysis to the amounts paid by beneficiaries in Original Medicare.

The Affordable Care Act also provides some new benefits to Medicare beneficiaries in 2011 like free wellness visits, some new free health screenings, and a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs for seniors who full into the coverage gap.

CMS is encouraging beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans to review their current health and drug plan coverage for any changes their plans may be making for 2010 before the annual enrollment period begins November 15. In addition to the 5-Star ratings on the Medicare Plan Finder at www.Medicare.gov, users will find an icon that shows those plans that had a low overall quality rating the past three years.

Additional Resources are available at the following links:

National Press Release issued today (9/21): http://www.cms.hhs.gov/apps/media/press_releases.asp

Medicare Health and Drug Plan State-by-State Fact Sheets: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/center/openenrollment.asp

2011 Plan Landscape Files: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PrescriptionDrugCovGenIn/


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