As the 2022 Annual Election Period (AEP) approaches, CMS expects the Medicare Advantage program to continue its upward trajectory, with enrollment climbing 10% to an estimated 29.5 million people next year while average monthly premiums will drop by more than $2 to $19, according to agency projections. In addition to the continued expansion of supplemental benefits, including those tailored toward the chronically ill, more MA organizations are expanding their Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) presence and testing benefit innovations through the Part D Senior Savings Model (SSM) and MA Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) model in 2022, CMS said on Sept. 29. During the AEP — which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 — seniors in nearly every state will have more MA plan options. According to a CMS state-by-state fact sheet based on the 2022 MA and Part D Landscape files, 29 states will see double-digit increases in the number of available MA plans, with a dozen seeing their plan options rise by more than 20%. Participation in the insulin-focused SSM will rise nearly 40% from 76 sponsors offering 1,635 plans in 2021 to 106 sponsors featuring the benefit in 2,159 plans in 2022, including stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) and MA Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans.