Medicare Drug Plan Changes And Prices Could Surprise Seniors
The Associated Press: An effort to streamline the entangled field of Medicare drug plans could mean as many as 3 million seniors "could force 3 million seniors to switch plans next year whether they like it or not, says an independent analysis," by Avalere Health: "beneficiaries will see their prescription plan eliminated as part of a new effort by Medicare to winnow down duplicative coverage and offer consumers more meaningful choices. Seniors would not lose coverage, but they could see changes in their premiums and copayments."
"For example, Medicare has already notified insurers they will no longer be able to offer more than one 'basic' drug plan in any given location." Medicare officials dismissed the estimate as simple "guessing" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/25).
The New York Times: Meanwhile, a new report by the AARP "on retail prices of brand-name drugs shows the 217 products most used by older Americans increased by an average of 8.3 percent during 2009, the largest increase in years, even as inflation was negative." In response, drug makers "pointed to a broader survey of drug prices showing they rose by 3.4 percent during 2009. The survey, conducted by the government for its official Consumer Price Index, includes generic as well as brand-name drug prices" (Wilson, 8/24).
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Many seniors are getting help with the costs. "Thousands of Montanans using Medicare's Part D prescription drug plan should be receiving rebate checks by mail soon, said a Medicare official touring the state to talk about changes to the federal program. Nearly 20,000 people who fall through the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage should receive $250 rebate checks, issued by the federal government as part of the health care overhaul" (Russell, 8/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.