With AEP in full swing, we have the following updates on the Medicare Advantage market:

Medicare Advantage 2018 Data Spotlight:  First Look | Kaiser Family Foundation | October 13, 2017

More than 19 million Medicare beneficiaries (33%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in 2017, which are offered as an alternative to the traditional Medicare program.  This first look at the Medicare Advantage plans available for 2018 analyzes publicly available data to review the Medicare Advantage plans offered during the Medicare Open Enrollment period. It describes the Medicare Advantage plan choices and availability, and how these have changed over time.

Read the full summary on kff.org here.

Medicare Part D:  A First Look at Prescription Drug Plans in 2018 | Kaiser Family Foundation | October 13, 2017

During the Medicare open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7 each year, beneficiaries can enroll in a plan that provides Part D drug coverage, either a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) as a supplement to traditional Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan (MA-PD), which provides all Medicare-covered benefits including drugs. Part D plans vary in numerous ways that can have a significant effect on an enrollee’s out-of-pocket spending, including premiums, deductibles, cost sharing, tier placement, the list of covered drugs, and preferred pharmacies.

This issue brief provides an overview of the 2018 Part D PDP landscape, the largest segment of the Part D marketplace, with 20.4 million enrollees in 2017 (excluding enrollees in employer-only PDPs, for whom plan premium and benefits data are unavailable).

See the full summary on kff.org here.

Pick the wrong Medicare drug plan and the cost will shock you | CNBC.com | October 24, 2017

As prescription drug prices continue their upward climb, Medicare beneficiaries should pay close attention to the coverage they choose during open enrollment.

During this window, which lasts through Dec. 7, you can choose drug coverage (Part D) either as a standalone plan that serves as a supplement to original Medicare (Parts A and B) or as part of a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C).

Either way, experts say that while you should ensure that any medications you take are covered, don’t stop your search at the first choice meeting that basic minimum.

Read the article on cnbc.com here.

CVS reportedly in talks to buy Aetna | HealthcareDive | October 27, 2017

  • CVS Health is in talks to buy Aetna for $200 a share, or about $66 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing “people familiar with the matter.” Neither company immediately responded to the news article.
  • The company that would result from such a deal would have an annual revenue of about $240 billion, second only to Walmart in the U. S., according to Axios.
  • CVS currently provides pharmacy benefit services to Aetna, but also recently agreed to service pharmacy benefit management to rival payer Anthem beginning in 2020.

See the details on HealthcareDive.com here.