Medicare Open Enrollment is taking place now through December 7. CMS has released Star Ratings and statistics, and the outlook is great for the country and for Texas in particular. Costs are down and options are up, giving Medicare enrollees ample reason to review at their choices.
Medicare participants can use the Plan Finder Tool to look at the available options in their area. When looking at plans, they should pay attention to the Star Ratings. These ratings are based on a five-star system and are available for both health plans and drug plans. A plan that receives five stars is considered excellent. A plan that receives one star is considered poor.
Around the country, Medicare participants can expect to find some great options during this year’s Open Enrollment. According to a recent announcement from CMS:
- Medicare participants in most areas of the country will have access to Medicare Advantage plans with four or five stars.
- It’s estimated that 73 percent of people in Medicare Advantage plans with prescription coverage will be in a plan with four or five stars. This is up from last year, when only 69 percent of enrollees were in plans with four or five stars.
- Medicare Advantage premiums are decreasing. The average monthly cost for 2018 is 6 percent less expensive compared to 2017. In 2017, the average cost was $31.91. In 2018, it will be $30.00.
- Medicare Advantage plan options are increasing. In 2018, there will be more than 3,100 Medicare Advantage plans available, up from 2,700 in 2017. More than 85 percent of Medicare enrollees will have 10 or more Medicare Advantage plans to choose from.
- Medicare Advantage enrollment is increasing. In 2018, 20.4 million people are expected to participate. This is a 9 percent increase compared to 2017.
In Texas, the numbers are also promising. According to the state-by-state fact sheet released by CMS:
- There are 3,853,595 Medicare beneficiaries in Texas.
- Of the people with Medicare in Texas, 100 percent have access to Medicare Advantage.
- There are 177 Medicare Advantage plans and 24 Medicare prescription plans available.
- For Medicare enrollees with a prescription drug plan, 84 percent will have access to a drug plan with a lower premium.
- Medicare prescription drug plans will have premiums as low as $16.70.