2019 CMS Press release: 2020 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan premiums continue to decline while plan choices and benefits increase
On September 24, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services (CMS) announced that, 2020 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D premiums
will continue to decline - and Medicare plan choices and benefits will increase.
CMS emphasized that a large number of Medicare Advantage plans across the county will offer plans with health-related (adult care services) and non health-related supplemental benefits (such as food delivery and non-medical transportation services). In addition, CMS highlighted the expansion of "telehealth
" or telemedicine benefits now being offered by 2020 Medicare Advantage plans.
In the press release, CMS also highlighted the newly updated MyMedicare.gov platform that will help beneficiaries compare plan options and replace the Medicare.gov Plan Finder
The following is the complete text of the CMS Press Release published on September 24, 2019 (with highlighting and emphasis added). The press release can be found at: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-drives-down-medicare-advantage-and-part-d-premiums-seniors:
Trump Administration Drives Down Medicare Advantage and Part D Premiums for Seniors
Enrollment projected to increase while plans offer new types of supplemental benefits
Ahead of Medicare Open Enrollment, the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), under the leadership of
President Trump, announced today that, on average, Medicare Advantage
premiums in 2020 are expected to decline 23 percent from 2018 while plan
choices, benefits and enrollment continue to increase. The Medicare
Advantage average monthly premium will be the lowest in the last
thirteen years for the more than 24 million people with Medicare who are
projected to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2020.
“President Trump has promised American patients a system
with affordable, personalized healthcare, a system that puts you in
control, provides peace of mind, and treats you like a human being, not a
number,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “That is what CMS has been
delivering with its improvements to Medicare Advantage: lower costs,
more options, and benefits tailored to patients’ needs. This proven
record of success—decreasing premiums in both Medicare Advantage and
Medicare Part D—contrasts with proposals for a total government takeover
of healthcare, which would destroy options such as Medicare Advantage
that seniors increasingly choose.”
This news comes as the agency releases the benefit and
cost-sharing information for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription
drug plans for the 2020 calendar year. Specific highlights include:
- The Medicare Advantage average monthly plan premium is expected to decrease 14 percent to $23.00 (estimated)
in 2020 from an average of $26.87 in 2019. Since 2017, the average
monthly Medicare Advantage premium has decreased by an estimated 27.9
percent. This is the lowest that the average monthly premium for a
Medicare Advantage plan has been since 2007.
- Beneficiaries will have more plan choices, with about 1,200 more Medicare Advantage plans operating in 2020 than in 2018.
- The average number of Medicare Advantage plan choices
per county will increase from about 33 plans in 2019 to 39 plans in
2020. This represents an increase of 49 percent since 2017.
- Medicare Advantage continues to be popular, with
enrollment projected to increase to an all-time high of 24.4 million
beneficiaries from the current enrollment of 22.2 million, out of
approximately 60 million people currently enrolled in Medicare.
Enrollment in Medicare Advantage in 2020 is expected to have increased
by 30.6 percent since 2017.
- Coupled with the previously announced 13.5 percent decline
in the average monthly basic Part D premium, beneficiaries have saved
about $2.65 billion in Medicare Advantage and Part D premium costs since
2017. The projected average monthly basic Part D premium of $30 in 2020
is the lowest the Part D basic premium has been since 2013.
- The continued decline in Medicare Advantage and Part D
premiums over the past three years is estimated to save taxpayers nearly
$6 billion in the form of lower Medicare premium subsidies.
“These dramatically lower costs in Medicare
Advantage and Part D, thanks to President Trump’s leadership, means that
we are putting dollars back into the pockets of our seniors,” said CMS
Administrator Seema Verma. “On the contrast, proposals for more
government through Medicare for All or a public option, would only harm
the progress we have made to protect and strengthen the Medicare program
for future generations.”
CMS has taken several actions over the last two years to
protect and strengthen the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs,
driving competition and lowering costs, including:
- Providing beneficiaries with more choices due to CMS
removing limits requiring meaningful differences among a Medicare
Advantage Organization’s plans beginning in 2019.
- Reducing burden for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans
through streamlining government review and approval of marketing
- Expanding access to reduced cost sharing and additional
benefits for enrollees with certain conditions, such diabetes and
congestive heart failure, due to the agency’s reinterpretation of
uniformity in 2018. About 300 plans in 2020 will offer up to 1.3 million
Medicare Advantage enrollees with access to such benefits.
- Expanding opportunities for seniors to choose Medicare
Advantage plans that are providing new supplemental benefits, or extra
benefits, that are tailored to their specific needs to help them
maintain their health. In 2020, about 500 plans will provide
approximately up to 2.6 million Medicare Advantage enrollees with access
to expanded primarily health related supplemental benefits, such as
adult care services or caregiver support services.
- Expanding opportunities for chronically ill patients to
choose Medicare Advantage plans that offer a broader range of
supplemental benefits that are not necessarily health-related but may
help to improve or maintain their health. For example, chronically ill
beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can now receive meal
delivery in more circumstances, transportation for non-medical needs
like grocery shopping, and home environment services in order to improve
their health or overall function as it relates to their chronic
illness. About 250 plans in 2020 will offer access to these types of
supplemental benefits reaching an estimated 1.2 million enrollees.
- Implementing legislation signed by President Trump to
give seniors access to Medicare Advantage additional telehealth benefits
so they can use telehealth technology to access more providers in more
parts of the country. For 2020, over half of all plans will offer
additional telehealth benefits, reaching approximately up to 13.7
million Medicare Advantage enrollees.
- Providing clinicians with more information on
out-pocket-costs and lower cost alternatives for prescription drugs so
they can discuss with beneficiaries at the time a prescription is
- Providing beneficiaries with more drug choices and
empowering beneficiaries to select a plan that best meets their needs by
allowing plans to cover prescription drugs differently depending on the
reasons for which they are prescribed, an approach used in the private
Not only are there additional lower-cost choices, it
will be easier than ever to compare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans
on Medicare.gov. As the 2020 Medicare Open Enrollment period
approaches, CMS for the first time in a decade launched
a modernized and redesigned Medicare Plan Finder – the most used tool
on Medicare.gov – that allows users to shop and compare Medicare
Advantage and Part D plans as well as compare pricing between original
Medicare, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans and
Medicare supplemental insurance or Medigap policies.
CMS anticipates updating Medicare.gov with the 2020
Medicare Advantage and Part D premiums and cost-sharing information and
releasing the Star Ratings for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans in
Medicare Open Enrollment begins on October 15, 2019, and
ends on December 7, 2019. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries can
compare coverage options like Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage
and choose health and drug plans for 2020. Medicare health and drug plan
costs and covered benefits can change from year to year, so people with
Medicare should look at their coverage choices and decide on the
options that best meet their health needs. They can visit Medicare.gov
(www.medicare.gov), call 1-800-MEDICARE, or contact their State Health
Insurance Assistance Program (www.shiptacenter.org). People who want to
keep their current Medicare coverage do NOT need to re-enroll.
To view the premiums and costs of 2020 Medicare Advantage and Part D
plans, please visit: www.cms.gov/ Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/
For state-by-state information on Medicare Advantage and Part D in
2020, please visit:
For a Spanish version of this press release, please visit: