its 2019 star ratings for Medicare Advantage (MA) health plans, noting that the Medicare Advantage market continues to grow in affordability and access for consumers.
CMS estimates that 74 percent of MA beneficiaries will have access to a 2019 Medicare Advantage plan with four or more stars. Access to plans with four or more stars increased slightly from last year, when 73 percent of members had access to high-quality plans.
Nineteen MA health plans earned a five-star overall rating, according to the data released by CMS.
Kaiser Permanente had four MA health plans earn a five-star rating, which was the greatest number of five-star plans offered by a single payer.
Cigna made it onto the list with its HealthSpring of Florida plan. Anthem had one MA plan earn a five-star rating while a joint Anthem-BlueCross BlueShield plan also earned five stars.
Florida Blue earned a five star rating on all its HMO plans. This was a significant jump from the 3.5 rating these plans earned for 2018. Care Plus (which is owned by Humana) also regained its 5 star rating, after an absence of several years.
Humana issued a statement saying that 3 million, or approximately 84% of its Medicare Advantage members, are currently enrolled under contracts with 4 plus stars for 2019, including 225,000 members in 5-star contracts. All Humana Medicare HMO membership in Florida is in 4.5 or 5-star rated contracts.
However, fewer plans earned a five star overall rating than in 2018. Twenty-four plans earned a five-star rating in 2018 while only 21 earned the same rating in 2019.
Overall quality remains high, though, as CMS identified only four MA plans that earned 2.5 stars or lower.
CMS also recently announced that Medicare Advantage premiums decreased 6% nationally (almost all Medicare Advantage plans in Florida have no premium) and that the number of MA health plan options is growing significantly.
About 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to more than 10 MA plan options. MA enrollment is expected to increase by 2.4 million members in 2019.