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'Free' Medicare Advantage Plans Are Hot: Mark Farrah Associates

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The 2020 Medicare Advantage plan market may be a lot like the 2019 market — except that the issuers are offering more plans with no out-of-pocket premium costs for the enrollees.

Analysts from Mark Farrah Associates have reported that finding in a new analysis of the Medicare plan issuer data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

(Related: 10 Top States for 2020 Medicare Advantage Capitation Payment Increases)

The annual enrollment period for 2020 started Tuesday and is set to end Dec. 7.

The Medicare Advantage program gives private issuers a chance to provide an alternative to CMS “Original Medicare” coverage. Issuers can collect a combination of CMS subsidy money and enrollee premium payments, or they can rely solely on money from CMS.

The total number of separate Medicare Advantage plans offered for the 2020 plan year has increased to 3,534, up 15% from the total for the 2019 plan year, according to the Mark Farrah analysts.

The share of plans with a zero-dollar premium increased to 49% for the 2020 coverage being sold now, from 45% for the 2019 plan year.

Here’s what happened to the actual number of plans offered in four monthly premium categories:

  • $0: Increased 25%, to 1,724
  • $1-$50: Increased 10%, to 910
  • $51-$100: Increased 1.1%, to 520
  • $100 and over: Increased 3.6%, to 374


Links to the Mark Farrah Medicare Advantage market reports for 2019 and 2020 are available here.

— Read Medicare Advantage Market Continues to Look Good, on ThinkAdvisor.

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