Sept. 19, 2013 - Senior citizens
are continuing to choose higher quality Medicare Advantage (MA) plans,
according to a news release today from Health and Human Services (HHS)
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She says for the fourth straight year
enrollment in these health care plans is projected to increase.
The average MA premium in 2014 is
projected to increase by $1.64 from last year, coming to $32.60. Since
passage of the Affordable Care Act, average MA premiums are down by 9.8
Access to the Medicare Advantage
program will remain strong, with 99.1 percent of beneficiaries having
access to a plan, as the Annual Open Enrollment period for health and
drug plans is about to open on October 15 and ends December 7.
The average number of plan choices
will remain about the same in 2014 and access to supplemental benefits
MA quality continues to improve as
over one-third of MA contracts will receive four or more stars, which is
an increase from 28 percent in 2013. Over half of MA enrollees are
enrolled in plans with four or more stars, a significant increase from
37 percent of enrollees last year.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services (CMS) calculates star ratings from 1 to 5 (with 5 being the
best) based on quality and performance for MA and Medicare prescription
drug plans to help beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers compare
As a result of the Affordable Care
Act, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans remain strong and
continue to provide improved benefits and low premiums for
beneficiaries, said Secretary Sebelius.
And as a reminder, it is business
as usual when it comes to their Medicare benefits: people with Medicare
do not need to enroll in the new Health Insurance Marketplaces.
Earlier this year, CMS
announced that the average estimated basic Medicare prescription
drug premium plan in 2014 is projected to be $31 per month, holding
steady for four years in a row. One hundred percent of people with Part
D will have access to a plan with lower premium than what they paid in
More than 6.6 million people with
Medicare have saved over $7 billion on prescription drugs as a result of
the Affordable Care Act, an average of $1,061 per beneficiary.
Affordable Care Act closes the donut hole over time. This news
comes on the heels of historically low levels of growth in Medicare
spending. From 2010 to 2012, Medicare spending per beneficiary grew at
1.7 percent annually, substantially more slowly than the per capita rate
of growth in the economy.
Each year plans costs and covered
benefits can change, and Medicare beneficiaries should look at their
Medicare coverage choices and decide what options best meet their needs.
For more information and to compare
benefits and prices of 2014 Medicare health and drug plans available
during Medicare Open Enrollment, click here
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