Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans increases

More than nine million people enrolled in the Medicare Part D program currently receive their prescription drug benefit through Medicare Advantage plans, according to a new analysis by a healthcare research organization.

According to Avalere Health researchers, who analyzed data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as through the company's DataFrame technology, enrollment in all types of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans increased for 2009 picking up an estimated 730,000 people from the year before.

Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans increases The report also showed total enrollment in standalone prescription drug plans increased by approximately 140,000 individuals.

Bonnie Washington, vice president at Avalere, said the finding shows the economy played a strong role in the selection of the Medicare plan.

"MA plans have increased in popularity for 2009, undoubtedly as seniors sought low upfront premiums and great predictability in out-of-pocket spending," Washington said.

Those who either missed the Medicare Part D deadline or were not eligible to enroll last year will still be able to join next year. Recently it was reported the parameters of the program, which include initial coverage limit and out-of-pocket costs, will experience a slight increase of 3.13 percent in 2010.

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