Competition among Medicare Part D plans, increased generic drug use and greater transparency for consumers are reasons why the CMS expects lower Medicare prescription drug premiums next year, agency officials said on Thursday.
CMS expects lower prescription drug premiums in 2012
In 2012, the average Medicare prescription drug plan premium will be about $30, compared with an average premium of $30.76 in 2011, according to HHS. CMS Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick said in a conference call with reporters that the average premium is about 44% lower than what was estimated in 2003.
HHS also announced that about 900,000 Americans with Medicare in the Part D “doughnut hole” (PDF) have benefited from a 50% discount in brand-name drugs this year. HHS estimates out-of-pocket savings on drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries to be about $461 million from January through June of this year.
“Medicare beneficiaries will have more affordable prescription drug coverage next year as a result of vigorous competition in the Part D program and Medicare drug plans' efforts to encourage seniors to choose the most affordable medicines,” Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement. Ignagni added that “taxpayers are also saving billions of dollars as the total cost of the program continues to be far below original projections.”
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.