Medicare Snapshot: Open Enrollment Costs and Trends

Study Overview

This report presents an analysis of costs and trends among consumers who selected Medicare insurance products through eHealth during the first half of the annual open enrollment period for 2020 coverage, which ends December 7, 2019. Data presented in this report is drawn from October 15 through November 8, 2019.

Rather than presenting a view of costs across all available products, this report presents costs based on products actually chosen by Medicare insurance shoppers. Highlights:

  • Medicare Advantage premiums are down year over year: $5.47 is the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans selected by people enrolling in coverage with eHealth, down 43% from $9.53 in the same period last year.
  • Zero-dollar premium Medicare Advantage plans increasingly popular: 83% of all eHealth Medicare Advantage customers selected $0 premium plans, compared to 76% from the same period last year.
  • Part D plan premiums are down year over year: $19.76 is the average monthly premium for stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans selected by eHealth customers in the first half of open enrollment, a decrease of 15% from the same period last year ($23.34).
  • Medicare Supplement premiums show a modest increase: $157.48 is the average monthly premium for Medicare Supplement plans selected by eHealth customers in the first half of open enrollment, an increase of 8% from the same period last year ($145.62).

 

A 43% decline in average Medicare Advantage premiums year over over

  • ​$5.47 was the average premium for Medicare Advantage plans selected in the first half of open enrollment for 2020 coverage.
  • $9.53 was the average month premium for Medicare Advantage plans selected in the same period last year.

 

Fig 1 - Med Snapshot

 

Premiums for plans selected by consumers significantly lower than “on the shelf” averages: In September 2019 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the average monthly premium for 2020 Medicare Advantage plans was expected to be $23.00. The lower average premiums reported by eHealth may illustrate the effects of significant numbers of consumers selecting $0 premium plans.

 

More than eight in ten Medicare Advantage enrollees select $0 premium plans

  • 83% of those selecting Medicare Advantage chose plans with $0 monthly premiums in the first half of open enrollment.

  • By comparison, 76% of those selecting Medicare Advantage chose plans with $0 monthly premiums in the same period last year.

 

Fig 2 - Med Snapshot

 

Most consumers now have access to Medicare Advantage plans with $0 premiums: CMS has reported that 90% or more of Medicare beneficiaries in 46 states have access to Medicare Advantage plans for 2020 with a $0 monthly premium.

 

A 15% decline in average Medicare Part D plan premiums year over year 

  • $19.76 was the average premium for Medicare Part D plans selected in the first half of open enrollment for 2020 coverage.

  • $23.34 was the average month premium for Medicare Part D plans selected in the same period last year.

 

Fig 3 - Med Snapshot

 

An 8% increase in average Medicare Supplement plan premiums year over year

  • $157.48 was the average premium for Medicare Supplement plans selected during the first half of open enrollment.
  • $145.62 was the average month premium for Medicare Supplement plans selected in the same period last year.

 

Fig 4 - Med Snapshot

 

 

Methodology Note

This report’s findings are based solely on submitted applications for Medicare Advantage, stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, and Medicare Supplement plans received by eHealth between October 15 and November 8, 2019, with a comparison to the same period from the prior year. Included in “Medicare Advantage” figures are plans Medicare Advantage plans offering prescription drug coverage as well as those not offering prescription drug coverage. All figures have been rounded to the nearest full percentage point.

 

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