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Medicare News

Medicare Enrollment to Open with Premiums Flat for Drug, Advantage Plans in 2013

Medicare Advantage Plans expected to continue growth – up 28% since Obamacare, cost down 10%; Enrollment opens Oct. 15

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 – Dec. 7

To find Medicare tools and information, and compare the cost or benefits of 2013 Medicare health plans in your area, Click Here.

Sept. 20, 2012 – Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period for health and drug plans in 2013 will open on October 15 and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expects an 11 percent increase in Medicare Advantage enrollments and a slight increase in premiums. MA premiums have dropped by 10 percent, while enrollment has jumped by 28 percent, since the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed in 2010. Drug plan premiums are expected to be about like they were this year.

The Annual Open Enrollment Period for health and drug plans begins on October 15 and ends December 7.


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Each year plans change what they cost and what they cover. During the open enrollment period, which will end on December 7, seniors can change drug plans and change how they receive Medicare benefits – with traditional Medicare or an Advantage plan.

For the third year in a row, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) used authority provided by the Affordable Care Act to protect beneficiaries from significant increases in costs or cuts in benefits, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Access to supplemental benefits remains steady and beneficiaries’ average out-of-pocket spending remains constant, she reported.

The average MA premium in 2013 is projected to increase by only $1.47 from last year, coming to $32.59. However, if beneficiaries choose lower cost plans at the same rate in 2013, as they did in 2012, the average premium is expected to increase by only 57 cents.

Access to the Medicare Advantage program will remain strong, with 99.6 percent of beneficiaries having access to a plan. Additionally, the number of plan choices will increase by 7 percent in 2013, according to Sebelius.

Drug Plans - wide range of choices

Last month, CMS announced that the average estimated basic Medicare prescription drug plan premium was projected to be $30 in 2013, holding steady from last year. Today's projections show that access to a Medicare prescription drug plan will remain strong in 2013. Everyone with Medicare will have access to a wide range of plan choices, Sibelius said.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the Part D donut hole coverage gap will continue to increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed.

This year, people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 14 percent coverage of generic drugs in the donut hole. In 2013, Medicare Part D’s coverage of brand name drugs will begin to increase, so people with Medicare will receive approximately 53 percent off the cost of brand name drugs, and coverage for 21 percent of the cost of generic drugs, in the donut hole.

"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug programs have been strengthened and continue to improve for beneficiaries," said Secretary Sebelius.

"Since the law was enacted in 2010, average premiums have gone down, enrollment has gone up, and new benefits and lower drug costs continue to help millions of seniors and people with disabilities."

Since the law was enacted, 5.4 million people with Medicare have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs in the donut hole. An estimated 37 million people with Medicare received a preventive benefit free of charge in 2011.

  Links to Official Information About Medicare

  > Understanding Medicare enrollment periods

  > Medicare & You 2012 handbook in pdf format

  > Medicare publications

  > Get Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs

  > Medicare information for beneficiaries with higher incomes


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