The current state of the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug markets has left analysts at Mark Farrah Associates without much material for grabbing clients’ attention.

Low interest rates are suffocating insurers in the long-term care insurance market and some life and annuity sectors.

Affordable Care Act complications are rocking the ordinary individual major medical market.

In the Medicare Advantage and stand-alone Medicare drug plan markets, the outlook looks nice.

“Many companies will offer zero or low-premium plans, appealing to more price-sensitive seniors, while others will present higher-premium plans with richer benefits and possibly lower cost-sharing,” analysts at the Mark Farrah predict.

Related: Medicare Advantage issuers gain market share

The Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare drug plan annual election period started Oct. 15 and is set to run until Dec. 7.

Mark Farrah is courting issuers, wholesale distributors and retail producers in that market with a new batch of Medicare market data.  

The Medicare Advantage program gives private insurers a chance to get paid to sell alternatives to traditional Medicare Part A hospitalization and Medicare Part B outpatient and physician services coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans covered about 18.5 million of the 57.4 million Medicare enrollees in mid-September, according to Mark Farrah data.

Total Medicare enrollment has increased 3.9 percent since December. Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased faster — 4.9 percent.

The total number of distinct Medicare Advantage plans available for 2017 will increase to 2,311, up 3.2 percent from the current number.

The number of stand-alone drug plans will fall to 757, from 897 this year, but that’s mainly because of an intentional effort by Medicare program managers to weed out plans that were too much like other plans, Mark Farrah analysts say.

Related:

Medicare Advantage sales boom in Illinois and North Carolina

Medigap enrollment rises 6.5%

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