Sunday, October 21, 2012

Medicare Costs Continue to Hold Steady

The Medicare Advantage (MA) program has remained strong and is going to continue growing, with an expected 11% increase over the next year in terms of enrollment, according to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The Affordable Health Care System Act, passed in 2010, has resulted in an 18% increase in enrollment and a 10% decrease in premium cost for Medicare Advantage
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), for the third year running, has used its power given by the Affordable Health Care System Act to keep beneficiaries from getting hit with high costs or benefit reductions. The money that beneficiaries are currently paying out of pocket has remained steady, and supplemental benefits have stayed the same.

The standard cost of an MA premium in 2013 will be $32.59, an increase from last year of only $1.47, but if beneficiaries opt for smaller cost plans in 2013 at the identical rate they did in 2012, their premium cost will only go up 57 cents.

99.6% of beneficiaries will have access to a plan through the Medicare Advantage program, and as of 2013, 7 more plan options will become available.

In 2013, the standard basic Medicare premium plan for prescription drugs will be roughly $30, the same as last year, according to CMS, and all people with Medicare will have a large range of options in terms of plans.

Under the Affordable Health Care System Act, generic and brand name medications involved in the Part D “donut hole” coverage break will steadily increase until the donut hole is closed in 2020.

Individuals with Medicare were awarded with 14% coverage on generic drugs in the donut hole, as well as a 50% reduction in cost for brand name medications this year.

Brand name medication coverage will start to grow in 2013, and result in a 53% cut of cost for these drugs in the donut hole. 21% of generic drugs will also be covered.

5.4 million Individuals with Medicare have saved upwards of $4.1 billion on prescription medications in the donut hole since the Affordable Health Care System Actwas legislated. In 2011, around 37 million people with Medicare were given a preventive benefit at no cost.

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