CMS touts popularity, value of MA plans

Friday, September 19, 2014

WASHINGTON – Enrollment in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in 2015 is projected to increase to a new all-time high, CMS announced Sept. 18.

Premiums are expected to remain affordable, as well, the agency says.

“Seniors and people with disabilities are benefiting from a transparent and competitive marketplace for Medicare health and drug plans,” stated CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a press release.

The annual open enrollment period for Medicare and drug plans begins Oct. 15.

Between 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was enacted, and 2015, enrollment in MA plans is expected to increase 42% and premiums is expected to decrease 6%.

For 2015, MA plans submitted average premiums that were $2.94 higher, but CMS estimates premiums will be only $1.30 higher because more beneficiaries are expected to enroll in lower cost plans.

“The vast majority of MA enrollees will face little or no premium increase for next year, with 61% of beneficiaries not seeing any premium increase at all,” the agency states.

The quality of MA plans continues to improve, as well, CMS says. About 40% of plans will receive four or more stars for 2015, an increase of about 6% from 2014.