Experts Urge California Medicare Beneficiaries To Compare Drug Plans
With the start of the open enrollment period for Medicare prescription drug benefit plans on Saturday, experts are urging California beneficiaries to re-evaluate their drug coverage options, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
David Sayen, regional administrator in the San Francisco offices of CMS, said there are more changes to Medicare prescription drug plans than in the past and stressed the importance of comparing plans.
According to a California HealthCare Foundation study released earlier this month, more than 80% of Medicare beneficiaries who purchase separate prescription drug coverage likely will see their monthly premiums rise by $5 or more if they keep their current plan.
"There are big increases in premiums, particularly for a stand-alone drug plan," Chris Peronne, senior program officer at CHCF, said, adding, "There's a volatility in premiums and benefit structure, and seniors need to look at their options and evaluate them every year."
In California, the average premium, weighted by enrollment, will increase 35% for stand-alone policies, the Chronicle reports. For stand-alone policies, average premiums will increase to $33.02 per month in 2009, compared with $24.50 per month this year (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15).
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