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Medicare Advantage Premiums to Dip Next Year

Costs for Original Medicare Parts A and B expected this month

2018 Medicare rates

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Changes are ahead next year for Medicare, and important deadlines are quickly approaching.

En español | The average monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan is expected to be about $30 next year, a slight decrease of $1.91 a month, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). MA plans are a private insurance alternative to Original Medicare.

Medicare’s open enrollment period for 2018 begins on Oct. 15, 2017, and ends on Dec. 7, 2017. Beneficiaries who want to keep their current coverage do not need to re-enroll.

CMS projects that enrollment in MA plans will reach an all-time high of 20.4 million in 2018, a 9 percent increase from 2017. About one-third of all Medicare enrollees — 34 percent — are expected to be in an MA plan next year.

The number of MA plans available across the country is also increasing. In 2018, 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to an MA plan, and 85 percent will be able to choose among 10 or more MA plans.

CMS estimates that 77 percent of MA enrollees who stay in their current plan will have the same or lower premium in 2018.

CMS has not yet released premium or deductible costs for Original Medicare’s Part A, which covers hospital services, and Part B, which covers doctor visits and other outpatient care. CMS officials expect those rates to be released this month.

Earlier this year, CMS announced that the average basic premium for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2018 is slated to decline slightly — to $33.50 per month from this year’s average of $34.70 a month. This premium decline would be the first for Part D since 2012.

For more information about Medicare and the open enrollment period, go to or call 1-800-MEDICARE.