CMS lowers MA premiums amid insurer plans to grow offerings

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is lowering the average premium for Medicare Advantage plans just as several insurers have announced plans to launch new MA options.

The average premium for MA plans will drop to $19 per month in 2022, as compared with $21.22 in 2021. Concurrently, MA enrollment is projected to reach 29.5 million people in 2022 versus 26.9 million that were enrolled in an MA plan in 2021.

Further, the percentage of plans offering special supplemental benefits for chronically ill individuals will increase from 19% to 25% in 2022, and 295 plans — versus 256 in 2021 — will cover all Medicare services, plus Medicaid-covered behavioral health treatment or long-term services and supports, through a single organization.

Not only are MA enrollment and plan benefits expected to expand, but a sizeable number of plans will focus on innovation. More than 1,000 MA plans will participate in the CMS Innovation Center’s Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design Model in 2022, which is testing the effects of offering approximately 3.7 million people customized benefits.

This news comes amid rising insurer interest in the MA market.

Over the past few days, insurers, big and small, have announced new MA plans for 2022. On Friday, Humana said it will launch 72 plans next year, including 42 MA plans that include prescription drug coverage and 27 special needs plans.

“After considering the needs of our members and how we could offer them more for 2022, we designed our Medicare plans to address people’s whole-life needs — with a particular focus on their most important healthcare needs and delivering the human care our members expect from Humana,” said Alan Wheatley, president of the retail segment at Humana, in a news release.

On the same day as Humana’s announcement, insurance technology company Clover Health debuted its 2022 MA plans. Individuals eligible for Medicare in 209 counties across nine states can enroll in Clover’s plans. The states are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Sanford Health Plan has also jumped on the bandwagon, announcing on Monday that it is launching an all-in-one bundled MA plan for the 2022 coverage year. This plan combines Medicare Part A and Part B coverage with more tailored health benefits and prescription drug coverage.

Other major payers, like UnitedHealthcare, Cigna and CVS Health’s Aetna, are expanding MA coverage options into hundreds of new counties, according to Forbes.

Medicare open enrollment begins on Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7.

Photo: zimmytws, Getty Images

 

 

 

 

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