What can Medicare beneficiaries expect to pay for Medicare Part D coverage in 2013?
September 7th, 2012 | Posted by Angela Chen
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) forecasted that the average Medicare Part D premium in 2013 will be $30 a month. The estimate was based on bids from private insurance companies that offer Medicare PDPs to eligible beneficiaries. Average premiums were also projected to be the same amount in 2012, with the actual average being $29.67. These amounts are similar to the $30.76 average 2011 Part D premium.
The discount on both generic and brand-name drugs in the Medicare “donut hole” will continue to increase yearly until 2020, when the coverage gap is expected to be closed. In 2013, beneficiaries in the donut hole can expect to pay 47.5% (50% discount from the drug manufacturer and 2.5% government subsidy) of the cost of brand-name drugs and 79% of the cost of generic drugs due to a 14% government subsidy. Medicare beneficiaries will hit the donut hole in 2013 when their total drug spending, both out-of-pocket and from coverage from their Medicare plan, has reached $2,970, which is $40 more than the previous year.
HHS officials attribute these low Part D premiums and prescription drug savings to the Affordable Care Act.
“Premiums are holding steady and, thanks to the health care law, millions of people with Medicare are saving an average of $600 each year on their prescription drugs,” said HHS Secretary Katherine Sebelius.
Since the health care law was enacted, over 5.2 million seniors and individuals with disabilities have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs, according to reports. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also released data that showing that over a million Medicare beneficiaries saved $687 million on medications in the Medicare donut hole for an average of $629 in savings in the first half of 2012.
Bloomberg and Reuters also covered this story.
Medicare beneficiaries should still consider their options and compare Medicare Part D plans for 2013 during Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).
Although the estimated monthly premium has not increased, Medicare beneficiaries should keep in mind that the forecasted amount is an average. While some beneficiaries may see a decrease in their Part D plan’s monthly premium compared to last year, others may see an increase. Part D plans can vary yearly when it comes to premiums, what drugs are covered, how much drugs will cost, what pharmacies are approved, and a number of other factors. Additionally, a beneficiary’s health and medication needs may change. It is important for beneficiaries to compare Medicare Part D plans annually during AEP to ensure that they are enrolled in the best plan for their medication needs.
The Annual Enrollment Period this year will be from October 15th to December 7th. PlanPrescriber provides a free Medicare Part D plan comparison tool that allows customization based on personalized medication usage.