Minnesota: highest premiums for Medicare pharmacy plans--by a lot

I recently came across this report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. It takes a look at the current market for Medicare Advantage plans--the version of Medicare that is marketed and administered through private health insurers. This type of plan has been around for a while, and is usually pretty popular; seniors often pay a bit more in premiums for MA plans, but they get more services in return.

The report has a couple of interesting findings in regards to Minnesota. As the Star Tribune noted, the report shows that Minnesota has the highest rate in the nation of Medicare enrollees with a private MA plan. The big three private insurers in Minnesota: Blue Cross, Medica, and HealthPartners have been aggressive in marketing their MA plans to Minnesota seniors, and apparently have been successful in attracting seniors away from traditional Medicare. The report says 55 percent of Medicare enrollees are on private plans in this state. Another interesting finding is illustrated in the graphic below: Minnesota also has the most expensive monthly prescription drug premiums for MA plans of any state in the nation--by a long shot. According to KFF, Minnesotans on MA plans pay an average of $138 per month. That's $36 more than the next-highest state, Massachusetts, and one of only two states to average more than $100 per month in premiums. It's also about four times the national average--which is $37. The Strib story mentions Minnesota plans technically being "Cost" rather than "Advantage" plans, so I'm looking into what that difference is. But the higher price tag that seniors in this state are paying for drugs certainly is certainly eye-catching.

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