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