In the latest news for Medicare patients, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced more options for health insurance coverage in 2018.
Benefit and premium information for Medicare health and drug plans for the 2018 calendar year have been released. According to a CMS press release, highlights of the announcement include:
- The average monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan will decrease
- Enrollment in Medicare Advantage is projected to reach a new all-time high
- With new policies revealed earlier this year that support increased benefit flexibilities, there will be more innovative Medicare Advantage plans designed to fit the needs of those with Medicare
From the CMS press release:
CMS estimates that the Medicare Advantage average monthly premium will decrease by $1.91 (about 6 percent) in 2018, from an average of $31.91 in 2017 to $30. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of Medicare Advantage enrollees remaining in their current plan will have the same or lower premium for 2018.
Medicare Advantage enrollment is projected to increase to 20.4 million in 2018, a nine percent increase compared to 2017. More than one-third of all Medicare enrollees (34 percent) are projected to be in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2018.
Medicare Advantage Plans
According to CMS, 99 percent of people with Medicare have access to a Medicare Advantage plan and the number of Medicare Advantage plans available will increase from about 2,700 to more than 3,100. It is expected that 85 percent of people with Medicare will have access to 10 or more Medicare Advantage plans. In addition, more Medicare Advantage enrollees are projected to have access to important supplemental benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing benefits.
Before the end of this year, CMS plans to make several consumer-friendly improvements for Medicare Open Enrollment so those with Medicare can make an informed choice between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. According to CMS, some of the improvements include:
- Changes in the “Medicare & You” handbook to better explain coverage options
- Establishing a help wizard on Medicare.gov that will point to resources to help make informed healthcare decisions
- Establishing a new email communication opportunity to improve the customer service experience through important messages and reminders
More News For Medicare Patients
Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018 Medicare health and drug plans began October 15, 2017, and ends December 7, 2017. Plan costs and covered benefits can change from year to year. People with Medicare should look at their coverage choices and decide the options that best fits their health needs. They can visit Medicare.gov, call 1-800-MEDICARE, or contact their State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to learn more.
Those with Medicare who do not wish to change their current coverage do not need to re-enroll in order to keep their current coverage. Here are two additional resources that can help you explore your options:
- Premiums and costs of 2018 Medicare health and drug plans
- Fact sheet on Medicare Advantage and Part D in 2018
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