Published Online: Friday, December 1, 2006

The prescription drug savings available to seniors under the Medicare Part D benefit will be even greater next year than in 2006, according to a new analysis released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The analysis found that "beneficiaries with common chronic conditions enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans will see significant and, in many cases, increased savings in their prescription drug costs for the coming year."

During the program's initial year, prescription costs for seniors enrolled in Part D increased at a slower rate than the cost of drugs overall, according to the CMS analysis. For 2007, "many plans [will be] offering larger price discounts and greater overall savings off of retail prices," said agency analysts.

Compared with what individuals with Medicare would pay without prescription drug coverage, the beneficiaries in the CMS study will save an average 53% off the costs of their current prescription drugs in 2007, up to a maximum of 68% through the lowest-cost plans available, the analysis concluded.

"Even those choosing from a range of lower-cost plans can save up to 65% annually in 2007, up from 52% at the end of 2006," said the analysts. Medicare officials expect that increased information available to Part D beneficiaries will help reduce Rx costs next year.

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