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The Changing Number of Medicare Part D Plans

How does the decreasing number of Medicare Part D plans affect your Medicare enrollment?

Medicare beneficiaries will have fewer Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs) from which to choose during this year’s annual election period.

In fact, the number offered in 2022 is decreasing by 23% to 766 plans, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

Given that, Jae Oh, author of Maximize Your Medicare, says Medicare beneficiaries need to review their current plan and determine whether it’s still their best option or if they need to change providers. With the decrease in plans, Oh said it’s very likely that the plan they were on was merged with another plan, or the beneficiaries were moved to a completely different plan. This information would have been sent out in the beneficiaries Annual Notice of Change Letter (ANOC).

If there is an issue, Oh said Medicare beneficiaries have until Dec. 7 to freely switch their plans. You can switch your plan as many times as you would like before this deadline, but once this deadline passes, you are stuck with whatever plan you chose for the next year.

While you can change plans freely during this period, don’t just do it for fun, Oh warns. Each plan is different and suited to different circumstances, and the differences between them could cost users hundreds of dollars per year, simply because of different coverage on one type of prescription medication.

The Kaiser Family Foundation issued another report that found the following:

  • The average Medicare beneficiary has a choice of 54 Medicare plans with Part D drug coverage in 2022, including 23 Medicare stand-alone drug plans and 31 Medicare Advantage drug plans.
  • The estimated average monthly premium for Medicare Part D stand-alone drug plans is projected to be $43 in 2022, based on current enrollment, while average monthly premiums for the 16 national PDPs are projected to range from $7 to $99 in 2022. Among the 16 national PDPs, average monthly premiums are increasing for 12 PDPs, including 5 PDPs with increases exceeding $10