88% of Medicare Advantage plan buyers going for $0 premiums

About halfway through 2021's open enrollment period, 88 percent of Medicare Advantage plans purchased on marketplaces have $0 premiums, according to a Nov. 18 survey from eHealth.

Over 4,200 Medicare beneficiaries' responses came out of the survey, which targeted eHealth users who had previously purchased a Medicare plan. 

Here are seven takeaways from the survey:

1. The number of people purchasing plans with $0 premiums is substantially higher than the number of Medicare Advantage plans for 2022 that offer $0 premiums, which is 59 percent.

2. The average premium for Medicare Advantage plans purchased this open enrollment period is $4, which is down from $5 in 2021 and 2020, and $10 in 2019. 

3. Medicare Part D average premiums are $21, up $1 from 2020 and 2021, but down from 2019's average of $23. 

4. Medicare Supplement plans had the largest increase in average premiums so far this year, sitting at $172. This is up from $160 in 2021, $157 in 2020 and $146 in 2019. 

5. The survey found that while Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D premiums haven't changed much since last year, Medicare Supplement plan premiums have gone up 8 percent.  

6. Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement members have different priorities when it comes to cost. Medicare Advantage members reported out-of-pocket costs as a top concern, while Medicare Supplement members cited low premiums as a priority. 

7. The survey found overwhelming support (92 percent) for expanded Medicare dental, hearing and vision benefits, but that support dropped to 50 percent if coverage costs increased.

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