MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Analysis of newly released government data revealed that there will be more $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans available in 2016 as compared to 2015. This increase in 2016 represents a reversal to the 5-year decline in the number of $0 Medicare Advantage plans. These $0 premium health care plans are enormously popular with Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom live on a fixed income.
HealthPocket's analysis found that the average premium across all Medicare Advantage health insurance plans for 2016 is $64.92. This is 4 percent higher than the 2015 average premium of $62.69. This amount is also 99 percent higher than the average of $32.60 that the government reported since the government weighted the average by projected plan enrollment rather than averaging across all premiums available in the market.
The least expensive Medicare Advantage plan is still $0. However, the number of $0 Medicare Advantage premiums has increased 6 percent since 2015 after dropping 19 percent from 2014 to 2015. The most expensive Medicare Advantage plan, at $388 a month, is the EmblemHealth VIP High Option plan in the state of New York. In 2015, the most expensive Medicare Advantage plan was the HealthPartners Freedom Ultimate with Enhanced Rx in the state of Minnesota. It cost $347.10 per month, 11 percent lower than the highest premium in 2016.
The average drug deductible for 2016 Medicare Advantage plans is $162.67, 25 percent higher than the 2015 average deductible of $129.87. The maximum allowable Medicare Advantage drug deductible in 2016 is $360, $40 higher than the maximum allowable deductible of $320 for 2015 Medicare Advantage plans.
With respect to stand-alone Medicare drug coverage, the average premium across all Medicare Part D drug plans in the United States for 2016 is $52.68. The 2016 average premium is 2 percent lower than the 2015 average premium of $53.90. This amount is also 62 percent higher than the average of $32.50 that the government reported since the government weighted the 2016 premium average by anticipated plan enrollment rather than averaging across all Part D plan premiums available in the market.
The average deductible for 2016 Medicare Part D drug plans is $217.37. The 2016 deductible amount is 38 percent higher than the 2015 average deductible of $157.91. As is the case for 2016 Medicare Advantage plans, the maximum allowable Medicare Part D deductible in 2016 is $360.
The maximum possible cap on out-of-pocket costs for covered drug expenses in 2016 is $4,850 for both Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. This limit is $150 higher than the 2015 limit of $4,700. After this out-of-pocket threshold is reached, the beneficiary will be provided 'catastrophic coverage' with lower drug cost-sharing.
The full findings of HealthPocket's research can be reviewed at "More $0 Premiums for Medicare Advantage in 2016" on HealthPocket.com.
HealthPocket.com is a free website that compares and ranks all health insurance plans, helping individuals, families, and small businesses to make their best health plan decisions. HealthPocket publishes health insurance market analyses and other consumer advocacy research. HealthPocket's research is nonpartisan and uses only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. HealthPocket, Inc. is independently managed and based in Mountain View, California. Learn more at www.HealthPocket.com.
CONTACT: Ryan Hughes
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs