Mary Ellen McIntire   |  

Monthly premiums for seniors enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program are expected to be about 4 percent less expensive in 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.

The agency estimates that the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage enrollees next year will be $31.40, compared to the average $32.59 consumers pay this year. About two-thirds (67 percent) of enrollees will see no premium increase next year, the agency projects.

“Medicare Advantage and the prescription drug benefit continue to be a great option for seniors and people living with disabilities,” Andy Slavitt, CMS’s acting administrator said in a statement. “Medicare enrollees will continue to have access to predictable premiums and high quality care.”

The agency expects 18.5 million seniors to enroll in the MA program next year, a 60 percent increase in the number of enrollees since 2010.

CMS also expects premiums for people enrolled in Medicare Part D program, which covers prescription drugs, to remain stable. The agency projects the monthly premium for a senior enrolled in the program to be $34 per month.