InfoStat | 10-04-17

2018 Brings Good News for Medicare Part D & Medicare Advantage Enrollees

Average premiums for both products are down compared to 2017

2018 Brings Good News for Medicare Enrollees

Average premiums for 2018 Medicare Advantage and Part D are going down on the national level as compared to last year. Nationally, the average monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan will be $60.36 in 2018. This is less expensive than 2017’s average of $62.481 as well as 2016’s average of $64.92.2 This average takes all standard3 U.S. Medicare Advantage plans into consideration and does not weight the averages by enrollment. Nearly 30 percent of these 2018 Medicare Advantage plans will have a $0 premium (though enrollees must continue to pay their normal Medicare Part B premium obligations). The 30 percent figure represents a slight improvement over 2017’s 29 percent. The average prescription drug deductible for Medicare Advantage plans in 2018 will be $160.49, down from $164.71 in 2017.4

In August of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services predicted that 2018 Medicare Part D premiums would decrease for 2018.5 HealthPocket’s comparison of Part D monthly premiums found that the national average premium in 2018 of $52.36 is slightly less expensive than the average premium of $53.22 in 2017.6 The average deductible in 2018 is $243.55, which is 7 percent more expensive than 2017’s average deductible of $227.43.

Despite the encouraging premium news at the national level, HealthPocket found significant state-level variances from the national averages for premiums and drug deductibles.



2018 Medicare Advantage Premium & Deductible Averages By State

Florida was the low-cost leader when comparing average Medicare Advantage premiums among the states. Florida’s 2018 Medicare Advantage plans have an average monthly premium of $17.06. North Dakota, in contrast, is over six times that amount with an average premium of $116.25 for its Medicare Advantage plans.

Prescription drug deductible comparisons were not a clear cut issue for Medicare Advantage plans in 2018. There were instances where deductible amounts were missing within the government data. From a methodological perspective, $0.00 deductibles were calculated into the averages but blank cells were not.

In 2018, the maximum allowable drug deductible for both Medicare Advantage and Part D plans is $405.7 Plans do have the flexibility to offer a drug deductible below that maximum amount. HealthPocket found that the lowest average drug deductible at the state-level was $49.02 for Pennsylvania. The most expensive average deductible, given the limitations of the underlying data, was Montana at $359.67.

The below table provides a state-by-state comparison of the average premiums and deductibles of 2018 Medicare Advantage plans. There were no records for Medicare Advantage plans within the state of Alaska for 2018 so the table contains “N/A” for both the premium and deductible averages in that state.

2018 Average Medicare Advantage Premiums & Deductibles

StateAverage Monthly PremiumAverage Deductible
ALABAMA$49.66$122.03
ALASKAN/A*N/A*
ARIZONA$51.73$184.42
ARKANSAS$38.31$169.44
CALIFORNIA$32.92$120.07
COLORADO$53.38$148.45
CONNECTICUT$56.67$152.67
DELAWARE$41.00$167.86
FLORIDA$17.06$153.63
GEORGIA$30.42$197.52
HAWAII$83.31$217.00
IDAHO$59.93$132.63
ILLINOIS$62.97$105.53
INDIANA$41.10$134.41
IOWA$24.13$133.33
KANSAS$68.00$203.63
KENTUCKY$47.58$133.64
LOUISIANA$42.18$242.61
MAINE$42.74$109.71
MARYLAND$57.55$113.24
MASSACHUSETTS$91.43$227.09
MICHIGAN$95.88$140.58
MINNESOTA$107.59$235.90
MISSISSIPPI$34.46$276.70
MISSOURI$43.91$128.35
MONTANA$45.39$359.67
NEBRASKA$37.24$240.88
NEVADA$54.62$75.83
NEW HAMPSHIRE$42.76$218.22
NEW JERSEY$53.39$206.49
NEW MEXICO$63.95$271.85
NEW YORK$50.74$141.86
NORTH CAROLINA$41.99$201.83
NORTH DAKOTA$116.25$257.41
OHIO$68.54$130.86
OKLAHOMA$46.32$130.46
OREGON$76.91$153.96
PENNSYLVANIA$74.11$49.02
RHODE ISLAND$62.58$150.50
SOUTH CAROLINA$27.09$202.25
SOUTH DAKOTA$104.69$250.14
TENNESSEE$42.83$104.12
TEXAS$66.47$171.76
UTAH$32.56$174.72
VERMONT$54.63$192.41
VIRGINIA$39.70$234.53
WASHINGTON$74.67$152.25
WASHINGTON D.C.$56.46$190.00
WEST VIRGINIA$55.92$135.70
WISCONSIN$72.54$242.52
WYOMING$46.73$276.88

* There were no government records for Medicare Advantage plans in Alaska for 2018

2018 Medicare Part D Plans By State

When comparing state averages for monthly premiums among stand-alone Medicare Part D drug plans, Delaware, Maryland, and the Washington D.C. region tied for the lowest in 2018. The average Medicare Part D premium in these three regions was $40.98. This average was 22 percent lower than the national average of $52.36. In 2016, the state of Hawaii had been the state with the lowest average Part D premium. In 2018, the two states with the highest average Part D premium were Idaho and Utah ($65.52).

In 2018, the lowest average prescription drug deductible for Part D plans was $210.42 in the state of Missouri. Missouri’s average deductible was 14 percent lower than the national average of $243.55. The most expensive average deductible in 2018 for Part D plans was $281.30 in Arizona, 15 percent higher than the national average.

The below table provides a state-by-state comparison of the average premiums and deductibles of 2018 Medicare Part D plans.

2018 Average Medicare Part D Premiums & Deductibles

StateAverage Monthly PremiumAverage Deductible
ALABAMA$50.31$253.40
ALASKA$49.36$270.00
ARIZONA$44.51$281.30
ARKANSAS$47.95$242.14
CALIFORNIA$63.74$239.60
COLORADO$62.22$232.50
CONNECTICUT$47.25$238.64
DELAWARE$40.98$259.76
FLORIDA$60.81$245.95
GEORGIA$54.31$244.17
HAWAII$46.38$245.00
IDAHO$65.52$231.80
ILLINOIS$49.91$265.21
INDIANA$51.85$245.42
IOWA$53.86$239.57
KANSAS$59.56$221.96
KENTUCKY$51.85$245.42
LOUISIANA$44.22$280.95
MAINE$53.69$225.21
MARYLAND$40.98$259.76
MASSACHUSETTS$47.25$238.64
MICHIGAN$45.15$254.79
MINNESOTA$53.86$239.57
MISSISSIPPI$46.23$231.50
MISSOURI$60.46$210.42
MONTANA$53.86$239.57
NEBRASKA$53.86$239.57
NEVADA$62.37$231.67
NEW HAMPSHIRE$53.69$225.21
NEW JERSEY$51.48$251.59
NEW MEXICO$48.24$248.54
NEW YORK$47.30$250.00
NORTH CAROLINA$48.35$254.17
NORTH DAKOTA$53.86$239.57
OHIO$52.00$237.17
OKLAHOMA$55.07$219.78
OREGON$53.37$237.73
PENNSYLVANIA$55.53$239.81
RHODE ISLAND$47.25$238.64
SOUTH CAROLINA$47.37$232.50
SOUTH DAKOTA$53.86$239.57
TENNESSEE$50.31$253.40
TEXAS$51.72$266.46
UTAH$65.52$231.80
VERMONT$47.25$238.64
VIRGINIA$51.66$247.92
WASHINGTON$53.37$237.73
WASHINGTON D.C.$40.98$259.76
WEST VIRGINIA$55.53$239.81
WISCONSIN$58.72$250.20
WYOMING$53.86$239.57

Conclusion

As Medicare beneficiaries prepare to shop this Open Enrollment Period for new insurance plans, they should remember that other plan attributes can be just as important as premiums and deductibles. For example, healthcare provider networks and caps on annual out-of-pocket costs are especially important to examine among Medicare Advantage plans. Likewise, covered drugs, drug cost-sharing, and limitations on drug access are important to examine on both Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.

Methodology

Premiums and deductibles for Medicare health and drug plans were obtained from the 2018 MA Landscape Source Files and 2018 PDP Landscape Source Files published by cms.gov on September 29, 2017 (https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/PrescriptionDrugCovGenIn/index.html?redirect=/PrescriptionDrugCovGenIn/02_EnrollmentData.asp last accessed on October 2, 2017). In instances where the government data lack a premium or deductible value for an individual plan, the absent value was not factored into averages.

Premiums and deductible averages are retail and do not include any assumptions about additional government aid. Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans for all 50 states and Washington D.C. were included in the study. Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans from U.S. territories were not included. Sanctioned plans and Special Needs Plans (SNPs) were not included in the analysis. Additionally, premium averages and deductible averages excluded plans where the data was not present (i.e. blank) in the government landscape files. No adjustment was made for market share of each plan. All analysis assumes the accuracy of the underlying government data.

Author

This analysis was written by Kev Coleman, Head of Research & Data at HealthPocket with data collection performed by Michael Bass. Correspondence regarding this study can be directed to Mr. Coleman at kevin.coleman@healthpocket.com.

Kev Coleman on Google+

Sources:

1 Kev Coleman. “Nationwide 2017 Medicare Premium Trends Encouraging But State-Level Cost Differences Very Concerning.” HealthPocket. (September 27, 2016). https://www.healthpocket.com/healthcare-research/infostat/medicare-2017-premiums-and-deductibles. Last accessed September 12, 2017.
2 Jesse Geneson. “More $0 Premiums for Medicare Advantage in 2016.” HealthPocket. (September 22, 2015). https://www.healthpocket.com/healthcare-research/infostat/medicare-2016-premiums-and-deductibles. Last accessed October 3, 2017.
3 Plans with special eligibility criteria as well as sanctioned plans were not included in this study. See METHODOLOGY section for further detail.
4 Ibid.
5 “Medicare Issues Projected Drug Premiums for 2018.” Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services. (August 2, 2017). https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2017-Press-releases-items/2017-08-02-3.html. Last accessed September 11, 2017.
6 Kev Coleman. “Nationwide 2017 Medicare Premium Trends Encouraging But State-Level Cost Differences Very Concerning.” HealthPocket. (September 27, 2016). https://www.healthpocket.com/healthcare-research/infostat/medicare-2017-premiums-and-deductibles. Last accessed September 12, 2017.
7 “Announcement of Calendar Year (CY) 2018 Medicare Advantage Capitation Rates and Medicare Advantage and Part D Payment Policies and Final Call Letter and Request for Information” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (April 3, 2017). https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Health-Plans/MedicareAdvtgSpecRateStats/Downloads/Announcement2018.pdf. Last accessed September 12, 2017.

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