Californians Face Cost Hike Under Medicare Drug Benefit
Health care advocates say that many Medicare beneficiaries in California could face significant increases in costs for Medicare drug coverage if they do not change their drug plan, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
According to an analysis by the California HealthCare Foundation, Medicare beneficiaries' drug plan premiums will increase by an average 31% if they retain their drug plan from 2006. That increase is about twice the national average, CHCF estimates.
Kevin Prindiville, an attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center in Oakland, said that about half of low-income California Medicare beneficiaries will have to change plans to avoid premium increases.
Overall, premiums for stand-alone drug plans will increase by about 19% for California Medicare beneficiaries next year, while premiums for Medicare Advantage plans will drop by about 39% on average, the Mercury News reports.
Monthly premiums for the 56 stand-alone Medicare drug plans offered in California range from $14.30 to $102.70.
Open enrollment for Medicare drug plans began on Nov. 15 and will run until Dec. 31 (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 11/18).
CHCF publishes California Healthline.