In a blog post by Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, the White House trumpeted a report pointing to an increase in enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans.  DeParle was listed by Time Magazine as one of “Top 10 Health-Care-Reform Players.”  She quoted the report saying:

“Enrollment in the MA plans GAO analyzed increased by about 6 percent–from 7.9 million to 8.4 million beneficiaries–from April 2010 through April 2011…  The average monthly premium for beneficiaries in MA plans decreased from $28 in 2010 to $24 in 2011, about a 14 percent reduction.”

The full GAO report shows that the average plan premium for MA plans across all categories (HMO, local PPO, regional PPO, PFFS) is lowest in the regional PPO category, down to $12 from $18.  HMO models, which appear to have the greatest capacity for care coordination, are down to $23 from $25.  These are annual premiums rates, and the averages include plans with zero premium.  While the inclusion of zero premium plans skews the average down considerably, this is still a useful tool to measure progress.

It is also useful to demonstrate how good the Medicare benefit is compares to, say, the average rate for a family plan in the US:  $12,680.