Medicare Advantage plan star ratings decline again in 2024

Approximately 42% of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that offer prescription drug coverage will have a star rating of four or more in 2024, marking yet another substantial decrease from 51% in 2023 and 68% in 2022.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its annual star ratings report for MA and Part D plans Friday, ahead of Medicare’s open enrollment period Oct. 15.

Approximately 74% of MA plan enrollees are currently in contracts that will have four or more stars in 2024, but just 42% of MA plans that offer prescription drug coverage will have an overall rating of four stars or higher.

Star ratings reflect enrollees’ experiences in MA plans and Part D prescription plans, rated on a one-to-five scale with five stars representing the highest level of performance.

“The Medicare Advantage and Part D Star Ratings are important tools to help people find the right option for their needs and circumstances, and make informed health care decisions,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure in a statement. “CMS encourages people with Medicare to review their coverage options. As Medicare Open Enrollment approaches, many people with Medicare can expect to see improved benefits and lower prescription drug costs because of the historic Inflation Reduction Act.”

The number of consistently low performing plans has risen from one to six from 2023 to 2024. Just 21 plans that were given a "high performing" icon retained that status from 2023, while the list welcomed 10 new plans.

MA plans with prescription drugs are rated on 40 quality and performance measures, while MA-only plans are rated on 30 measures. Part D contracts are evaluated on up to 12 measures.

Nonprofit organizations with MA-PD plans account for approximately 56% of four star or higher scores, compared to 36% of for-profit MA-PDs. Similarly, for PDPs, approximately 50% of nonprofit PDPs received 4 or more stars compared to 14% of for-profit plans, according to a fact sheet (PDF) released by CMS.

CMS noted that enrollees will also be able to utilize the benefits of the low-income subsidy program expansion, insulin that is capped at $35 for a one-month supply and recommended adult vaccines at no cost. The agency announced Oct. 12 that monthly Part B premiums would increase 6% from $164.90 to $174.70.

Open enrollment ends Dec. 7, with coverage changes taking effect Jan. 1.