To Switch or Not to Switch: Are Medicare Beneficiaries Switching Drug Plans To Save Money?

Kaiser Family Foundation: Oct 10, 2013

Each year during the Medicare Part D annual enrollment period that runs between October 15 and December 7, people on Medicare have the opportunity to review and compare the plan options available to them and switch plans if they choose.  This analysis examines rates of plan switching among Part D enrollees between 2006 and 2010, focusing on enrollees who do not receive the program’s Low-Income Subsidy.  The study finds that relatively few people on Medicare have used the annual opportunity to switch Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) voluntarily—even though those who do switch often lower their out-of-pocket costs as a result of changing plans. Key findings from this study are:

  • A small share of all Medicare Part D enrollees voluntarily switch plans during the annual enrollment period—13 percent, averaged across four enrollment periods.
  • Seven out of ten Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in stand-alone PDPs during all four annual open enrollment periods from 2006 to 2010 did not voluntarily switch plans in any of the four enrollment periods Read more