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Medicare Advantage in 2021: Star Ratings and Bonuses

In 2021, 81 percent of all Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans that receive a bonus payment from Medicare based on star quality ratings (or because they are new), substantially higher than the share in 2015 (55 percent). Annual bonus payments from the federal government to Medicare Advantage insurers have increased correspondingly, quadrupling from $3 billion in 2015 to $11.6 billion in 2021.

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Key Facts About Medicare Part D Enrollment, Premiums, and Cost Sharing in 2021

The Medicare Part D program provides an outpatient prescription drug benefit to older adults and people with long-term disabilities in Medicare who enroll in private plans, including stand-alone drug plans and Medicare Advantage drug plans. This analysis provides the latest data about Part D enrollment, premiums, and cost sharing in 2021 and trends over time.

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Analysis Suggests Health Insurers Remained Profitable Across Markets Amid Pandemic in 2020

A new analysis of health insurers’ financial data suggests that they remained profitable across markets in 2020 due in part to an unprecedented decrease in health spending and utilization in the spring as the COVID-19 pandemic led to massive shutdowns.

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Health Insurer Financial Performance in 2020

This analysis examines insurers’ financial data across markets through the end of 2020. It finds that average margins remained relatively high compared to recent years, suggesting many insurers remained profitable even as health spending rebounded and COVID-19 cases surged in the fall and winter.

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A Snapshot of Sources of Coverage Among Medicare Beneficiaries in 2018

Using the most current data available, this analysis describes current sources of coverage among Medicare beneficiaries in 2018, including sources of supplemental coverage among traditional Medicare beneficiaries (Medicaid, employer-sponsored retiree health benefits, and Medigap) and enrollment in private Medicare Advantage plans.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.