Premiums on Medicare Advantage plans will average $39 a month next year, a $7 increase from 2009, the CMS reported. Medicare prescription-drug plan premiums by comparison will average $30 in 2010, just a $2 increase from 2009. Those who qualify for Medicare low-income subsidies will pay no premiums or deductibles in the Part D plans.
Medicare Advantage, Part D premiums to rise
Lawmakers and insurers alike were pleased by the news from the CMS that progress has been made to protect enrollees in Medicare Advantage and Part D. In addition to its new marketing guidelines for Medicare Advantage plans, the CMS plans to expand surveillance efforts by conducting a greater variety of secret-shopping activities.
“CMS' work to protect Medicare Advantage and Part D enrollees is having tangible results,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a written statement. “In 2010, choices will be easier, plan benefits will be more equitable for all enrollees, and 1 million low-income enrollees will avoid potential disruption of Part D benefits.”
Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, was also encouraged by the news, but expressed concerns that policymakers were considering Medicare Advantage cuts “that will put the entire program at risk and cause seniors to face even higher premiums, further reductions in benefits, and fewer healthcare choices.”
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