Last week CMS released preliminary information on the 2017 Medicare Part D plans (stand alone prescription drug plans). We’ve analyzed the new plan information and determined that nearly all Medicare beneficiaries will have fewer stand-alone prescription drug plan choices in 2017. This is not new. The decline has been steady for the past several years.
An average of just 22 stand-alone drug plans will be available in each state, a drop from an average of 26 stand-alone PDPs in 2016. Our figures include Part D plans sanctioned by CMS and not offering new enrollment.
This is a significant reduction over previous years. For instance, only three years previous, an average of 34 prescription drug plans were available. In 2008, 53 plans were available. See the chart below for a year-by-year comparison since 2008.
Alaska Medicare beneficiaries continue to have the least selection with with only 18 PDP choices in 2017. That’s down from 19 in 2016.
South Carolina is taking the biggest hit, losing 6 PDP choices. That’s down to 21 plans from 27.
There will be 24 PDP options available to beneficiaries in Alabama, California, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Two of these states, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, had the best selection of plans in 2016.
IMPORTANT: Medicare Part D plan carriers will begin promoting their plans on October 1st. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period (Annual Election Period) for 2017 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage starts October 15th and continues through December 7th. New plan coverage begins on January 1, 2017.
Starting October 1st, Medicare beneficiaries can call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 to learn more about the 2017 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plan options.
We’ll continue to update the Medicare Part D plan coverage details as more information becomes available.