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Avalere: Prescription Drug Plan Premiums to Rise, Medicare Advantage Premiums Stay Stable

Monthly premiums for enrollees on Medicare Part D prescription drug plans will see their premiums rise next year and have fewer policies to choose from, according to an analysis released Wednesday by Avalere Health.

Avalere found consumers of the 10 most popular standalone prescription drug plans will see their premiums increase by an average of 4 percent. The top 10 prescription drug plans cover 85 percent of all consumers enrollees in the plans.

The number of available prescription drug plans is also projected to fall by 23 percent, from 886 in 2016 to 678 in 2017. Even so, Avalere projects that beneficiaries in every state will have at least 16 policies to choose from.

“Medicare beneficiaries in plans with premiums that are increasing need to be aware of what is happening with their plans” Kelly Brantley, a vice president at Avalere, said in a statement. “Beneficiaries who choose not to change plans could see higher premiums in 2017.”

The average Medicare Advantage premium for 2017 is projected to drop 4 percent to $31.40, the report says. Among all Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, 78 percent will have a $0 premium option, down from 81 percent of beneficiaries this year.

Avalere’s projection for Medicare Advantage premiums next year mimics a projection released last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.