MEDICARE PART D PREMIUMS SLATED TO RISE FOR 2008

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Seniors enrolled in the Medicare PartD drug program will see their monthlypremiums rise by an average of 21%unless they shop around for cheaperplans, according to a new analysis byresearchers at Avalere Health. The costof the drug program for upper-incomeMedicare recipients, however, will riseeven higher under a new plan beingfloated around Washington.

Avalere?s analysis of federal datareleased by the Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services found that 8 of thetop 10 prescription drug plan sponsorsin Medicare have increased their premiumsfor 2008. The 2 companies holdingthe line on premiums are: CVS Caremark?sSilverScript plan and FirstHealth?s Part D Premier plan, said theresearchers.

The cost of drug coverage could riseeven more sharply for higher incomeseniors under a means test proposalbeing considered by the Bush administration.Under the plan, Medicare beneficiarieswith annual incomes of >$80,000would be required to pay additional feesto participate in the drug program.

Sen John Ensign (R, Nev) is developinga legislative proposal incorporating theplan, which could reduce the cost ofMedicare Part D to taxpayers by billionsof dollars.