The Medicare Open Enrollment Period (also called the Annual Election Period, or AEP), which runs from October 15 through December 7, 2018, is projected to see record number of Medicare Advantage plan sales.
At least that’s the sentiment coming from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which forecasts that three corresponding factors could contribute to this trend:
According to CMS, the increased plan selection, growing benefits and decreasing premium costs could bring Medicare Advantage enrollment to over 22.6 million going into 2019.
This would represent an all-time Medicare Advantage enrollment high and an 11.5 percent increase in enrollment from the start of 2018. That number will also account for 36.7 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare (Medicare Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance).
Many Medicare Advantage plans may also offer extra benefits, which can include:
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is the time when many Medicare beneficiaries will purchase or switch Medicare Advantage plans.
CMS released data in advance of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period that shows the number of Medicare Advantage plans available for sale in 2019 will reach 3,700, up from 3,100 during last year’s Open Enrollment Period.
As a result, 91 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to 10 or more different Medicare Advantage plan choices, up from 86 percent in 2018. The average U.S. county will have 34 different plans available, up from 29 in 2018.
In 2019, Medicare Advantage plans can offer new additional benefits, such as in-home caregiver services, home meal delivery, grab bars for home bathrooms and increased benefits for people with certain conditions like diabetes and congestive heart failure.
The average Medicare Advantage plan premiums will see a price reduction in 2019. The average monthly plan premium will fall by $1.81, to reach $28.00.
Around 83 percent of people who remain in the same Medicare Advantage plan will have the same or lower premium in 2019 as they do in 2018.
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