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2021 Medicare Advantage plan (MA and MAPD) premiums remain low - with more $0 premium options

Category: Annual Medicare Plan Changes
Published on 2020-09-28 16:32:22

As noted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), monthly Medicare Advantage plan premiums have remained stable or declined over the past several years — and this trend continues into 2021 with most Medicare Advantage plans (MA and MAPD plans combined) continuing to have premiums under $50 per month - and 57% of all Medicare Advantage plans having monthly premiums of $25 or less.

Here are a few additional highlights of 2021 Medicare Advantage plan premium changes:

  • More $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans.  In 2021, 43% of all Medicare Advantage plan will have a $0 premium.  As a comparison, 39% of all 2020 Medicare Advantage plan have a $0 premium.

  • More Medicare Advantage plans will a premium under $50.  Overall, 79% of the 2021 Medicare Advantage plans (MA and MAPD) will have a premium of $50 or less.  Overall, 76% of the 2020 Medicare Advantage plans have a premium of $50 or less.

  • CMS also noted in their 2021 Medicare plan press release that: "average 2021 premiums for Medicare Advantage plans are expected to decline 34.2 percent from 2017 while plan choice, benefits, and enrollment continue to increase. The Medicare Advantage average monthly premium will be the lowest in 14 years (since 2007) for the over 26 million Medicare beneficiaries projected to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2021." (https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-announces-historically-low-medicare-advantage-premiums-and-new-payment-model [emphasis added]

For more detail, here is a table showing how the MA/MAPD premiums have varied over the past four years.

Premium Range 2021 MA/MAPD Plans 2020 MA/MAPD Plans 2019 MA/MAPD Plans 2018 MA/MAPD Plans 2017 MA/MAPD Plans
  # % # % # % # % # %
Total Plans 4,958   4,405   3,817   3,259   2,899  
MSA no Premium 5 0.10% 6 0.14% 6 0.16% 3 0.09% 4 0.14%
$0 Premium Plans 2,363 47.66% 1,895 43.02% 1,496 39.19% 1,166 35.78% 992 34.22%
Premium >$0-$25 541 10.91% 637 14.46% 438 11.47% 400 12.27% 287 9.90%
Premium >$25-$50 1,196 24.12% 951 21.59% 974 25.52% 813 24.95% 769 26.53%
Premium $0-$50 4,100 82.69% 3,483 79.07% 2,908 76.19% 2,379 73.00% 2,048 70.65%
Premium >$50-$75 285 5.75% 304 6.90% 298 7.81% 261 8.01% 269 9.28%
Premium >$75-$100 216 4.36% 230 5.22% 230 6.03% 234 7.18% 227 7.83%
Premium >$100-$200 293 5.91% 325 7.38% 313 8.20% 318 9.76% 285 9.83%
Premium >$200-$300 56 1.13% 54 1.23% 60 1.57% 57 1.75% 57 1.97%
Premium >$300 3 0.06% 3 0.07% 2 0.05% 7 0.21% 9 0.31%

The corresponding chart below illustrates the stability of Medicare Advantage plan premiums for plan years 2017 through 2021 - with an increase in lower-premium (or $0 premium) 2021 Medicare plans.


Please remember, your 2021 Medicare Advantage plan premium may increase.

The overall stability of Medicare Advantage plan premiums does not indicate that your current 2020 Medicare Advantage plan premium will remain the same in 2021.  To see how your 2020 Medicare Advantage plan premium is changing in 2021, please use our Medicare Advantage plan comparison tool (MA-Compare.com/2021) - just enter your Zip Code to get started.

You can also review your Medicare Advantage plan's Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter that you should receive in late-September or early-October.  You can call your Medicare Advantage plan using the toll-free number on your Member ID card to learn more about 2021 plan premiums.

You can also telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 to speak with a Medicare representative for more information about your 2021 Medicare Advantage plan options.

October 15th starts the annual Open Enrollment Period

The annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period (or Annual Coordinated Election Period -- AEP) for 2021 Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans begins on October 15th and continues through December 7th, with 2021 Medicare plan coverage beginning on January 1, 2021.

In addition, member of Medicare Advantage plans are given a second annual enrollment period once the new plan years begins.  The annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) begins on January 1st, 2021 and continues through March 31st.  During the MA-OEP, current members of 2021 Medicare Advantage plans can change to a different 2021 Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare and enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan (PDP), with their new 2021 Medicare plan coverage beginning on the first day of the month following their enrollment.

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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.