Premiums

A Closer Look at the Medicare Part D Landscape

As of 2023, about 50.5 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, with 44% in stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) and 56% in Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MA-PDs), according to a KFF analysis.

The three largest Part D insurers by market share — UnitedHealth Group, CVS Health Corp. and Humana Inc. — account for 57% of enrollment in 2023. More than half of UnitedHealth’s and Humana’s Part D enrollees chose MA-PDs, while the majority of CVS Health, Centene Corp. and The Cigna Group Part D enrollees are in PDPs.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

Employer Plans in 2023: Average Premium Rises 7%, Abortion Coverage Remains Limited

The average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2023 was $8,435 for single coverage and $23,968 for family coverage, a 7% increase from 2022, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation 2023 Employer Health Benefits Survey. On average, premiums for single and family coverage grew 22% since 2018. Over the past 10 years, the growth seen in the average premium for family coverage outpaced the rate of inflation (47% vs. 30%), whereas the average family premium and average wages grew at comparable rates (47% vs. 42%).

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

News Briefs: Benchmark ACA Premium to Rise 4% in 2024

In 2024, the average monthly premium for a benchmark silver plan on the federal Affordable Care Act exchange will rise by 4% compared to 2023, CMS revealed on Oct. 25. Premiums for a benchmark plan, or the average second-lowest-cost silver tier plan, are used to calculate advance premium tax credits (APTC) that rise in tandem with premium rates. CMS noted that the year-over-year benchmark plan premium increase of 4% between 2023 and 2024 is the same as the increase seen between 2022 and 2023. Also continuing next year will be enhanced subsidies that make ACA exchange plans much more affordable than they were before the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. To that end, the average benchmark plan rate after premium tax credits are applied, for a 40-year-old at 150% of the federal poverty level, will continue to be $0 in 2024 — compared to $55 before ARPA was enacted.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

News Briefs: Average Employer Plan Premium Set to Rise 7%

The average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance this year increased by 7% for single coverage and family coverage, reaching $8,435 and $23,968, respectively, according to the KFF Employer Health Benefits Survey. The report, released on Oct. 18, noted that workers’ wages increased by 5.2% and inflation rose by 5.8% in 2023. The average annual increase last year was 2% for single coverage and 1% for family coverage. KFF’s survey, now in its 25th year, includes private and non-federal public employers with three or more workers.

Customer satisfaction with health insurance increased to a record-high score, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) Insurance and Health Care Study published on Oct. 17. Humana Inc. had the highest score (82 out of 100), followed by UnitedHealthcare (78) and CVS Health Corp.-owned Aetna (77). ASCI’s report was based on interviews with 12,849 customers between October 2022 and September 2023 on subjects such as the range of plans available, ease of submitting a claim and access to doctors and hospitals. ASCI was founded in 1994 by researchers at the University of Michigan as well as the American Society for Quality in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and CFI Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

Enrollees Will Face Fewer Medicare PDP Options, Higher Average Premiums in 2024

During the 2024 Medicare Annual Election Period that starts on Oct. 15, a total of 708 stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans will be available for beneficiaries in 2024 nationwide, a 12% drop from 2023. Only 126 PDPs will be offered without a premium to enrollees receiving the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) in 2024, compared with 191 PDPs in 2023.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

Stand-Alone PDP Options Continue to Dwindle for 2024, While Premiums Rise

The stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) market — which was already in decline — is poised to take even more hits due to regulatory and legislative changes that are taking effect in 2024 and beyond, according to industry observers. Indeed, one expert who analyzed data from CMS’s 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D “landscape files” predicts that “a lot of people are faced with pretty significant premium increases” next year.

There’s a complicated calculus driving that trend, explains Tom Kornfield, a senior consultant at Avalere Health. But both he and equities analyst George Hill agree that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) is a major factor.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

Enrollees Will Face Fewer Medicare PDP Options, Higher Average Premiums in 2024

During the 2024 Medicare Annual Election Period that starts on Oct. 15, a total of 708 stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans will be available for beneficiaries in 2024 nationwide, a 12% drop from 2023. Only 126 PDPs will be offered without a premium to enrollees receiving the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) in 2024, compared with 191 PDPs in 2023.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

Stand-Alone PDP Market Is Poised for Disruption, Experts Predict

The stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) market — which was already in decline — is poised to take even more hits due to regulatory and legislative changes that are taking effect in 2024 and beyond, according to industry observers. Indeed, one expert who analyzed data from CMS’s 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D “landscape files” predicts that “a lot of people are faced with pretty significant premium increases” next year.

There’s a complicated calculus driving that trend, explains Tom Kornfield, a senior consultant at Avalere Health. But both he and equities analyst George Hill agree that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) is a major factor.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

For ACA Exchange Shoppers, Cost Isn’t Always King

Most Affordable Care Act marketplace enrollees choose plans based on price, yet a “surprising” number of enrollees making selections for the 2023 plan year gravitated toward more expensive options due to insurer reputation or breadth of networks, according to a recent Urban Institute study.

Overall, 26.3% of marketplace enrollees chose bronze plans, 57.9% chose silver and 15.8% chose gold in 2023. For the lowest income population, whose incomes were between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL), over 81.4% chose silver plans. Silver plans are the only metal tier in which cost-sharing reduction (CSR) plans are available to help enrollees lower their out-of-pocket health care cost responsibilities.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

2024 MA Landscape: MAOs Pursue ‘Softer’ Expansions, Higher Premiums Over Benefit Cuts

Trends emerging from early analyses of CMS’s 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D “landscape files” include a lower concentration of $0 premium plans, increases in monthly premiums by some of the biggest insurers, and less aggressive but continued expansions into new service areas. But industry observers caution against reading too much into the data, given the nuances of benefit design that are not detectable from the landscape files. That said, it’s clear the major publicly traded insurers made a few tradeoffs in order to maintain benefit stability and remain competitive amid financial headwinds.

Insurers reporting second-quarter 2023 earnings earlier this year said they factored the emerging trend of increasing utilization into MA bids that were due in June. Also impacting pricing for next year’s offerings is the phasing in of substantial revisions to the CMS-Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC) risk adjustment model that could reduce payments depending on plan type and coding practices, along with certain Part D changes resulting from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that increase the cost burden for plans in the catastrophic phase of the benefit.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT