2021 Landscape Presents Myriad Choices, Benefits in MA

With its annual release of the so-called landscape files for the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs, CMS on Sept. 24 estimated that enrollment in MA will jump 10% to an “all-time high” of 26.9 million beneficiaries, while the average monthly MA plan premium will drop 11% to an all-time low of $21.00. Meanwhile, beneficiaries shopping during the 2021 Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) that starts Oct. 15 will be inundated with choices, from the sheer number of plans available to a plethora of supplemental benefits.

CMS, in its Sept. 24 press release accompanying the unveiling of the landscape files, estimated that MA beneficiaries will have an average number of 47 plan choices per county, up from about 39 in 2020 and 33 in 2019. The agency added that the number of plan options in rural counties next year will increase by about 18% to 2,900, “as a result of flexibilities we gave to plans on benefit coverage and building their provider networks.”

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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