Cost of Medicare drug plans for seniors remains flat
for fourth year in a row
Other good news celebrating 48th anniversary of
Medicare and Medicaid is Obamacare has saved seniors and other
beneficiaries $7 billion in prescription drug cost
Open Enrollment Oct. 15 - Dec. 7
open enrollment begins October 15, ends December 7 - allows
people with Medicare to choose their plans for 2014 by comparing
their current coverage and quality ratings to other plans
July 31, 2013 Health and Human Services
celebrated the 48th anniversary of the signing of Medicare and Medicaid
into law with the release of data showing that the average premium for a
basic prescription drug plan in 2014 is projected to remain stable, at
an estimated $31 per month.
This news comes, says HHS, as seniors and people
with disabilities continue to save money on out of pocket drug costs. On
Monday, HHS announced that more than 6.6 million people with Medicare
have saved over $7 billion on prescription drugs as a result of the
Affordable Care Act, an average of $1,061 per beneficiary. The
Affordable Care Act closes the donut hole over time.
Seniors are benefiting from improved benefits and
low premiums, thanks to a competitive and transparent marketplace for
Medicare drug plans, said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
For the fourth straight year, the average Medicare
Part D monthly premium will remain steady, and is projected to be $31.
For the last three years for plan years 2011,
2012, and 2013 the average premium was projected to be $30. Todays
projection for the average premium for 2014 is based on bids submitted
by drug and health plans for basic drug coverage during the 2014 benefit
year, and calculated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
(CMS) Office of the Actuary.
CMS has already announced that key parameters for
Part D will actually be lower in 2014 than in 2013. For example, the
Part D deductible will fall from $325 to $310, producing additional
savings for enrollees.
The upcoming annual open enrollment period - which
begins October 15 and ends December 7 - allows people with Medicare,
working with their families and their caregivers, to choose their plans
for next year by comparing their current coverage and quality ratings to
other plan offerings. New benefit choices are effective Jan. 1, 2014.
Savings on Prescription Drugs Donut Hole
Because of the Affordable Care Act, out-of-pocket
savings on medications for people with Medicare continue to grow. Over
6.6 million people with Medicare have saved over $7 billion on
prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D donut hole since the law was
enacted, for an average of $1,061.
People with Medicare in the donut hole now receive
discounts and some coverage when they purchase prescription drugs at a
pharmacy or order them through the mail, until they reach the
catastrophic coverage phase. The Affordable Care Act gave those who
reached the donut hole in 2010 a one-time $250 check, then began phasing
in discounts and coverage for brand-name and generic prescription drugs
beginning in 2011. The law will provide additional savings each year
until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.
By making certain
available with no cost-sharing obligations, the Affordable Care Act is
helping Americans take charge of their own health. Americans can now
better afford to work with health care professionals to prevent disease,
detect problems early when treatment works best, and monitor health
In Medicare, the Affordable Care Act eliminated
coinsurance and the Part B deductible for recommended preventive
services, including many cancer screenings and other important benefits.
For example, before the laws passage, a person with Medicare could pay
as much as $160 in cost-sharing for some colorectal cancer screenings.
Today, that screening is free.
In the first six months of 2013, 16.5 million
people with traditional Medicare took advantage of at least one free
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