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A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage in 2020

Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown rapidly over the past decade, and Medicare Advantage plans have taken on a larger role in the Medicare program. More than 24 million Medicare beneficiaries (36%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in 2020. This data analysis provides updated information about Medicare Advantage enrollment trends, premiums, and out-of-pocket limits. It also includes analyses of Medicare Advantage plans’ extra benefits and prior authorization requirements. The analysis also highlights changes pertaining to Medicare Advantage coverage that have occurred in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Health Insurer Financial Performance Through September 2020

In this brief, we analyze third quarter data from 2018 to 2020 to examine how insurance markets performed financially through the end of September. Average margins remained relatively high compared to the same point in recent years, suggesting many insurers remained profitable even as non-COVID-related care returned in the summer and fall.

Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look

For 2021, the average Medicare beneficiary has access to 33 Medicare Advantage plans, the largest number of options available in the last decade, and can choose from plans offered by eight firms. Among the majority of Medicare Advantage plans that cover prescription drugs, 54 percent will charge no premium in addition to the monthly Medicare Part B premium. As in previous years, the vast majority of Medicare Advantage plans will offer supplemental fitness, dental, vision, and hearing benefits. In addition, virtually all will also offer telehealth benefits in 2021.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in 2021

This issue brief provides an overview of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit plan landscape for 2021, with a focus on stand-alone drug plans. It includes national and state-level data on plan availability, premiums, benefit design, cost sharing, information about premium-free plans for low-income beneficiaries, and information about the national Part D drug plans available in 2021.

More Than Half of All People on Medicare Do Not Compare Their Coverage Options Annually

This analysis shows that more than half of Medicare beneficiaries do not compare coverage options annually during the open enrollment period, despite the fact that Medicare Advantage and Part D plans often change from one year to the next, which could lead to unexpected and avoidable costs for beneficiaries who do not review their options annually. It also highlights that many beneficiaries have difficulty understanding the Medicare program and comparing coverage options. Further, it shows that most beneficiaries do not use Medicare’s official information resources.

Lower Flu Vaccination Rates Among Black, Hispanic, and Low-Income Seniors Suggest Challenges for COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

People 65 and older, who have been hardest hit by COVID-19 in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, are also at high risk of severe flu illness and are more likely to die of the flu than younger people. This analysis explores variation in the rate of flu vaccination among adults ages 65 and older covered by Medicare, and reasons cited for not getting vaccinated, based on data from the 2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.

Medicare Beneficiaries Without Supplemental Coverage Are at Risk for Out-of-Pocket Costs Relating to COVID-19 Treatment

Most Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans that have waived cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment, and many other beneficiaries in traditional Medicare have their cost sharing covered by supplemental insurance. This blog post discusses the 6 million Medicare beneficiaries without supplemental coverage who would face out-of-pocket costs if they require treatment for COVID-19.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.