In this week’s news release, we have a study from Kaiser Family Foundation on Medicare Part D trends and an update from the MIB Life Index on individually underwritten life insurance application activity.
Medicare Part D in 2016 and Trends over Time | Kaiser Family Foundation, September 16, 2016
Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had access to prescription drug coverage offered by private plans, either stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage drug plans (MA-PD plans). Medicare drug plans (also referred to as Part D plans) receive payments from the government to provide Medicare-subsidized drug coverage to enrolled beneficiaries, who pay a monthly premium that varies by plan. The law that established Part D defined a standard drug benefit, but nearly all Part D plan sponsors offer plans with alternative designs that are equal in value, and plans may also offer an enhanced benefit. Part D plans also must meet certain other requirements, but vary in terms of premiums, benefit design, gap coverage, formularies, and pharmacy networks.
Nearly 41 million of the 57 million people on Medicare (71 percent) are enrolled in a Part D plan in 2016; most (60 percent) are in PDPs, but a rising share (40 percent in 2016, up from 28 percent in 2006) are in MA-PD plans (Exhibit S.1). More than half of Part D enrollees are in enhanced plans.
MIB Life Index Reports U.S. Life Insurance Activity off -1.3% in August | MIB Group, September 14, 2016
U.S. application activity for individually underwritten life insurance fell slightly in August, off -1.3% year-over-year, all ages combined, according to the MIB Life Index. The year-to-date (YTD) index value remains on par with values observed in 2008 for the same eight month period (last previous high). August’s modest monthly decline is the first in 2016 and comes at summer’s close, typically a slow seasonal period for the Life Index. Year-to-date, the MIB Life Index is up 2.7% August YTD 2016/2015, matching the growth experienced August YTD 2015/2014. Application activity was off -0.7% from that of July, displaying typical seasonality.
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