SummaryThe shift toward low-premium plans with preferred pharmacy networks is indicative of an increasingly competitive market, but don't expect that to mean decreased overall costs.
Rather, beneficiaries can expect an even greater cost-sharing burden, potentially affecting access to prescription drugs.
An Avalere analysis of Medicare Part D data for the 2013 plan year shows continued enrollment growth in plans with innovative design and steady premiums. Nearly 3 million beneficiaries chose low-premium plans with preferred pharmacy networks (for instance, the new AARP Saver Plus plan gained more than 500,000 beneficiaries in its first year). The Medicare Advantage Part D market also continues to grow, despite the prospect of significant cuts due to health reform.