Medicare Advantage Premiums Set to Decrease in 2019

November 2018

Many Medicare Advantage beneficiaries may save some money on their Medicare Advantage plan premiums in 2019.

Average premiums for Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are set to decrease by 6 percent in 2019, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The average 2019 premium will be $28.00, down from $29.81 in 2018. Nearly 83 percent of enrollees remaining in their current plan will have the same or lower premium in 2019, while 46 percent will have a $0 premium.

The 2019 price drop will mark the fourth consecutive year that Medicare Advantage premiums have decreased.

Man doing finances

Plan premiums decrease while offering a variety of benefits

Medicare Advantage combine the coverage of Original Medicare (Medicare Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance) into one plan sole by a private insurance company.

Many Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits, such as coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing and other services not covered by Original Medicare.

In 2019, many Medicare Advantage plans may also offer more additional benefits, which can include:

  • Grab bars installed in home bathrooms
  • Air conditioners for beneficiaries with asthma
  • Home delivered meals
  • Transportation to doctor’s offices

Why are Medicare Advantage plan premiums decreasing?

The reduction in Medicare Advantage premium costs can be partly attributed to an increase in plan selection.

According to CMS, there will be approximately 600 additional Medicare Advantage plans available for sale across the U.S. in 2019, bringing the total nationwide selection to around 3,700.

More than 91 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to 10 or more plans, up from 86 percent in 2018. About 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to at least one Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare open enrollment

The increased selection has made for more competition and thus, lower prices. The lower prices are also one reason why the CMS is projecting record enrollment numbers during the 2018 fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period (also called the Annual Election Period, or AEP), which lasts from October 15 to December 7.

Medicare Part D plan premiums are also decreasing

Medicare Advantage isn’t the only part of Medicare experiencing a downward tick in cost in 2019. Many Medicare Part D plans, which help provide coverage for prescription medication, will also see reduction in premium costs for the second consecutive year.

Medicare Part D plans cost an average of $33.59 per month in 2018, and average premiums will decrease to $32.50 in 2019.