4 key trends in the Medicare Advantage, Part D markets

CMS released its annual Landscape Files comprising plan participation, premium and benefit design data for 2018 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D markets.

Experts from Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Avalere uncovered trends in the data likely to influence the MA and Part D markets in 2018.

Here are four key trends Avalere experts noted.

1. In the MA market, most beneficiaries will maintain access to plans with no monthly premiums. These plans "help attract new beneficiaries and those currently in traditional" fee-for-service models, the experts said.

2. However, less beneficiaries will have access to plans with out-of-pocket limits below $4,000.

3. Avalere consultants expect providers will continue entering the MA market as accountable care organizations. They added "other advanced provider organizations [will] become more comfortable with managing financial risk."

4. Part D premiums will lower slightly in 2018, likely due to higher-than-expected rebates.

"While Part D premiums are decreasing on average, it is important to take note that this shift is not reflective of total spending in the Part D market," said Kelly Brantley, vice president at Avalere. "Recently, we have seen some consumers experience affordability concerns partially attributable to rising reinsurance costs. If the trend continues over time, we may expect policy action on this front." 

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