2019 is already off to a blazing start with the implementation of Medicare Part D plans’ new opioid edits as well as 2020 formulary development. While plans are already preparing for the 2020 contract year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have released the 2019 Medicare enrollment numbers. As we have seen over the last three to four years, enrollment in a Part D plan continues to grow. This year Part D enrollment grew to 45 million beneficiaries. This is a 3% increase from 2018 and a 12% increase from 2016. 2019 also saw a continued increase in the number of beneficiaries choosing Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that offer a prescription drug plan (PDP). Beneficiaries enrolling in a MAPD plan increased 9% from 2018 to 2019, and this year’s enrollment is up 26% from 2016. Members are, though, continuing to choose stand-alone PDPs rather than MAPDs with over half of Part D beneficiaries currently enrolled in a stand-alone PDP.
While beneficiaries may choose to enroll in stand-alone PDPs more often than MAPD plans, MA plans make up almost 73% of the plans offering Part D. Stand-alone PDPs make up just 21% of Part D offerings. The remaining 6% is composed of 1876 Cost plans, Medicare-Medicaid plans, and PACE plans. Growth in the number of MA plans offering Part D continues to grow year over year and has increased almost 38% since 2016, whereas stand-alone PDPs have only grown 3% in the same period. As beneficiaries learn more about the additional benefits offered by MAPD plans, we may continue to see an increase in the number beneficiaries choosing MAPDs and an increase in the number of MA plans offering a Part D benefit in future years.
Medicare Advantage/Part D contract and enrollment data can be found on CMS’ Research, Statistics, Data & Systems website (https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems.html) under the section entitled Statistics, Trends, & Reports. This page provides data on contracts and plans, enrollment numbers, service area data, and contact information. Updated data is published to the website by the 15th of each month.