Double-digit premium increases seen in popular Medicare drug plans

Published on September 26, 2012 at 5:00 AM · No Comments

Seniors in seven of the 10 most popular Medicare drug plans will see marked premium increases for 2013 if they don't opt to change plans, according to an analysis by Avalere Health.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Report: Double-Digit Premium Hikes Seen In 7 of 10 Top Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
Seniors enrolled in seven of the 10 most popular Medicare prescription drug plans will be hit with double-digit premium hikes next year if they don't shop for a better deal, says a private firm that analyzes the highly competitive market. The report Monday by Avalere Health is a reality check on the Obama's administration's upbeat pronouncements. Back in August, officials had announced that the average premium for basic prescription drug coverage will stay the same in 2013, at $30 a month (9/25).

The Hill: Analysis: Premiums Rose Sharply In Medicare Drug Plans
Seven of the top 10 Medicare prescription drug plans (PDPs) saw a double-digit increase in premiums for 2013, according to an analysis by Avalere Health. The increases mean that several of the top 10 PDPs will lose eligibility for low-income subsidy beneficiaries in some U.S. regions, the study found. The release comes not long after the Kaiser Family Foundation found that health insurance premiums rose by a modest 4 percent this year on average, down from a 9-percent increase in 2011. Analysts attributed the drop to the slow economy. While Avalere did not speculate on the reason for the Part D premium increases, the group warned seniors to look closely at their options for the come year (Viebeck, 9/24).

In other Medicare news, a survey finds that many people doubt Medicare's future and one news outlet explores the continuing challenge of reducing hospital readmission rates to avoid Medicare penalties -

The Hill: Survey: Many Doubt Medicare's Future
Most people who are not on Medicare doubt the program will supply good and affordable healthcare by the time they turn 65, according to a new survey. In its 2012 Health Confidence Survey, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found most of those polled who are not yet eligible for Medicare lack confidence in several dimensions of the program's future. Specifically, 80 percent expressed partial to no confidence that they will be able to afford healthcare while on Medicare without struggling financially. A similar 77 percent were unsure that Medicare will afford them a good choice of medical providers, and 75 percent doubted that the program will guarantee them the medical treatments they need (Viebeck, 9/24).

The Medicare Newsgroup: Why Are Hospitals Having Trouble Reducing Readmission Rates?
The readmission penalties were put into place by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and were intended to prod the health care industry to take quality improvement seriously. Nearly 20 percent of Medicare patients return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, costing the program $17 billion yearly. The idea is that if hospitals are charged for not making people healthy enough to heal at home after discharge, taxpayer money should be saved and senior patients should have better outcomes. That's the theory. But does it hold true? (J. Duncan Moore Jr., 9/24).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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