As the annual Medicare open enrollment period recently began, it’s important to review key Medicare trends from the past year. More older Americans are staying in the workforce longer, and as many organizations prepare for their open enrollments, employers can use these Medicare trends to help inform their benefit offerings for the upcoming plan year.
Medicare Advantage has become more popular
Medicare Advantage is a type of health plan offered by a private company contracted with Medicare. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that Medicare Advantage enrollments surpassed original Medicare enrollments for the first time ever. By 2030, experts expect 69% of all Medicare enrollments will be for Medicare Advantage plans.
This increase in interest can be the result of the availability of benefits like vision, dental, and hearing. Enrollees also value its lower out-of-pocket spending, whereas original Medicare only allows it with supplemental coverage. Additionally, enrollees have noted the easier enrollment process as many do not need to enroll in separate Part D plans in order to receive prescription drug coverage.
Fewer Medicare beneficiaries continue with employer-sponsored health coverage
In 2023, it is less common than in previous years for Medicare beneficiaries over the age of 65 to continue receiving employer-sponsored health coverage in addition to Medicare coverage. Due to this, many beneficiaries with restricted finances are struggling with Medicare premiums and are forced to search for financial assistance.
More employers are offering Medicare Advantage to retirees
In 2022, 13% of employers with 200 or more employees offered retirees health benefits, and half of those employers offered Medicare Advantage plans. Additionally, 60% of employers with over 5,000 employees offered Medicare Advantage plans to their retirees.
It is notable that Medicare Advantage often requires beneficiaries to obtain prior authorization and referrals before visiting specialists and mental health professionals, so it’s important to ensure retirees are properly informed of their plan requirements prior to enrolling.
Medigap plans are declining in popularity
As enrollments in Medicare Advantage plans increase, enrollment in Medigap plans (supplemental Medicare insurance) has decreased. Enrollees are likely electing Medicare Advantage due to the lower premiums and forgoing the pricier Medigap policies that offer greater access to care and protection against larger medical bills.
If you have questions about Medicare or the annual election period, please contact Creative Benefits, Inc. for more information.