Improvements in Medicare in California for 2017

Medicare in California continues to grow, while offering seniors and people with disabilities stable premiums and improved quality of care. Whether through Original Medicare (Parts A and B), Medicare Advantage, or the prescription drug benefit (Part D), 5,800,043 beneficiaries in California continue to have access to improved benefits thanks to the Affordable Care Act, including:


    • Certain preventive benefits–including certain cancer screenings–are available at no cost to beneficiaries when provided by qualified and participating health professionals. The annual wellness visit provides beneficiaries with the opportunity to sit down with their doctor to discuss their health care needs and the best ways to stay healthy.
    • In 2017, if beneficiaries reach the coverage gap known as the “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, they’ll save 60 percent on covered brand name drugs and see increased savings on generic drugs.


In California in 2017:


    • 97 percent of people with Medicare in California have access to a Medicare Advantage plan
    • 258 Medicare Advantage plans are available
    • 24 Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are available
    • 87 percent of people with Part D have access to a plan with a lower premium than what they paid in 2016
    • 35 percent of people with Medicare Part D get Extra Help (also called the low-income subsidy, or LIS)
    • $17.00 is the lowest monthly premium for a prescription drug plan


In 2016,
    • 1,583,884 people in California with Original Medicare took advantage of at least one preventive service without cost-sharing through July 2016. 276,619 people in California with Original Medicare took advantage of the annual wellness visit in 2016 through July.


Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare in California have saved $1,927,241,234 on prescription drugs through July 2016 as a result of the discounts in the donut hole and rebates in 2010. In 2016 alone, 193,027 seniors and people with disabilities received discounts of $210,641,858 through July, for an average of $1,091 per beneficiary.


2017 Medicare Open Enrollment Important Dates

Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15, 2016 to December 7, 2016. All Medicare beneficiaries should take the opportunity to review their health care needs for the upcoming year and determine if changes to their current coverage is necessary. Plan costs and coverage change each year, so everyone with Medicare should check to make sure their plan still meets their health needs and budget. By shopping available plans and comparing costs, beneficiaries may be able to find Medicare plans with better coverage or a lower premium in 2017.


September 2016
    • The “2017 Medicare & You” handbooks are mailed to Medicare beneficiaries.
    • Health and drug plans begin notifying enrollees about changes to their plans in 2017.


October 2016
    • Beneficiaries can begin shopping and comparing plans on starting October 1.
    • Beneficiaries should watch their mail for notices from Medicare with information about changes in 2017.
    • Medicare health and drug plan Star Ratings will be available on starting October 12.
    • Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15.


December 2016
    • Medicare Open Enrollment ends December 7.


January 2017
  • Medicare plan coverage begins January 1.