Consumer / Employer, Payers

Report: 83% of MA Beneficiaries Choose $0 Premium Plans for 2024

Seniors are mostly still interested in $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans, according to a new eHealth report. However, slightly fewer seniors are choosing these plans compared to previous years.

Seniors are largely interested in $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans, but demand is slightly lower than in previous years, a new report shows.

About 83% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries chose a $0 premium plan for coverage year 2024, according to eHealth’s November report. This compares to 84% in 2023, 88% in 2022 and 86% in 2021. 

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eHealth is an online marketplace for health insurance. Its Medicare Snapshot: AEP Costs & Trends report analyzes the Medicare insurance plans chosen by eHealth consumers during the first half of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 through November 8). The Annual Enrollment Period ends December 7. 

About 66% of MA plans have no monthly premium, according to KFF. However, those selecting MA plans without a monthly premium still pay the Medicare Part B premium. The eHealth report noted that some Medicare beneficiaries may choose MA plans with higher monthly premiums for lower out-of-pocket costs or better provider networks.

“Medicare beneficiaries bring their own personal considerations and preferences to bear when choosing new plans for 2024,” eHealth said. “Some look for plans that will cover their preferred doctors or their prescription drugs. Others look for a familiar brand name. Affordable monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs play a decisive role for many.”

The report also discovered that the average monthly MA premium increased for the second year in a row, to $9 for 2024. In 2023, the average premium was $7, and in 2022, the average premium was $4.

In addition, the average monthly premium for Medicare supplement plans is $193 for 2024.

“Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans do not provide identical coverage, but the premium comparison illustrates the relative affordability of Medicare Advantage,” eHealth said.

The average monthly premium for Medicare Part D plans, meanwhile, is $29 for 2024. This is slightly lower than 2023 at $31, but still significantly higher than the years before that. In 2022, the average monthly premium for Medicare Part D plans was $21. However, eHealth noted that these findings are just based on stand-alone Part D plans, as most MA plans also offer prescription drug coverage.

The findings come at a time when enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans is increasing. More than half of eligible Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in MA plans in 2023, according to KFF.

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