When it comes to Medicare Part D stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) in 2020, experts say the most notable trend is the rising prevalence of lower-cost enhanced plan offerings, AIS Health reported.
According to CMS’s recently released landscape files, there will be a total of 1,433 PDP plans in 2020, up from 1,369 in 2019.
That increase is “mainly due to additional enhanced, low-premium plans being offered this year, both through existing carriers offering new plans, and then there’s also a new entrant to the national PDP market,” says Shelly Brandel, a principal and consulting actuary in the Milwaukee office of Milliman, Inc.
The new carrier, Clear Spring Health, will offer PDPs for the first time in 2020 in 41 states and Washington, D.C. Brandel notes that Clear Spring’s Premier Rx plans, an enhanced offering, have an average premium of around $15.
Also worth noting is that Humana Inc. created a new offering called the Humana Walmart Value Rx Plan. The premium for that plan is $13.20 across all states.
WellCare Health Plans, Inc., meanwhile, is offering the new WellCare Wellness Rx plan, an enhanced plan that has an average premium of about $14, according to Brandel.
In general, Brandel says, “the enhanced plans with low premiums have been an area of growth in the PDP market.”
A regulatory change in 2018 — which said plan sponsors no longer have to demonstrate that their enhanced PDPs offered in the same region are “meaningfully different” regarding enrollee out-of-pocket costs — likely made it easier for insurers to offer low-premium enhanced plans, Brandel says. However, “the main reason more of these plans are being offered is because they are popular with members,” she adds.
Across all PDP offerings, the projected average monthly basic Part D premium in 2020 will be $30 — the lowest it’s been since 2013, according to CMS.