Next year is shaping up to be a great one for Medicare enrollees in Arizona. CMS recently released Star Ratings for the 2018 Medicare health and drug plans, along with good news for Medicare Advantage premiums and options.
The Outlook for 2018
Overall, Medicare Advantage enrollees can expect slightly lower premiums in 2018, according to a September press release. The average monthly premium is expected to go down by 6 percent, or $1.91. The new average will be $30. For enrollees who decide to stay in their current plan, 77 percent will enjoy the same or lower premiums.
Medicare enrollees also have more options for 2018. Approximately 400 new Medicare Advantage plans will be available in the country, putting the total number of available plans at around 3,100. More than 85 percent of participants will have access to at least 10 plans.
Given the increased options and decreased costs, it’s no wonder than Medicare Advantage enrollment is at an all-time high.
The Outlook for Arizona
CMS has released a state-by-state look at Medicare options for 2018, and the outlook is great for Arizona. All 1,209,034 beneficiaries in Arizona will have access to Medicare Advantage. There will be 75 Medicare Advantage plans available in the state, along with 23 Medicare prescription drug plans.
Prescription costs may be going down for many Arizonans. In fact, 79 percent of participants in a Medicare prescription drug plan will have access to lower premiums.
The average numbers for Arizona and 2018 look great, but people will want to know about individual plans. To help enrollees, CMS has released its Star Ratings of health and drug plans.
For health plans, the Star Rating is based on multiple criteria, including customer service, member experience, member complaints and changes in the plan’s performance. The ratings also look at whether members are receiving services needed to stay healthy and manage chronic conditions.
For drug plans, the Star Rating is based on multiple criteria, including customer service, member experience, member complaints and changes in the plan’s performance. The criteria include the safety and accurate pricing of drugs.
To compare Star Ratings for plans in their area, Medicare enrollees can use the Medicare Plan Finder tool. CMS says that most areas will have access to plans with four- or five- star ratings, and that 73 percent of people who enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage are expected to enroll in a plan with a four- or five-star rating.
With lower premiums and more plan options available, this year’s Open Enrollment is one that Medicare enrollees will want to pay attention to. Open Enrollment has already begun and will continue through December 7.