Medicare open enrollment starts Saturday: 5 things to know

Morgan Haefner - Print  | 

Each year, beneficiaries can enroll in Medicare health and prescription drug plans from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

Here are five things to know about open enrollment for 2017 Medicare coverage.

1. Total Medicare enrollment for original Medicare Part A, Part B, Medicare Advantage and Part D policies stands at 55,504,005, according to the latest Kaiser State Health Facts from 2015. Medicare enrollees reflect 17 percent of the U.S. population.

2. Maine, West Virginia and Vermont lead the nation with the largest share of their population enrolled in Medicare. Maine and West Virginia Medicare beneficiaries represent 23 percent of the states' populations. Vermont's beneficiaries represent 21 percent of its population.

3. CMS anticipates 32 percent of Medicare enrollees will be in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2017, up from 24 percent in 2010. Medicare Advantage enrollment is set to increase to 18.5 million enrollees next year, up from 17.6 million in 2016, CMS said.

4. Medicare Advantage premium rates are set to decrease an average $1.19 for 2017. Sixty-seven percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees will not see a premium increase next year, according to CMS.

5. Additional dental, vision and hearing benefits will be added to Medicare Advantage plans next year. 

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