Medicare Beneficiaries Affected by Changes for 2007
State residents dually eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal in 2007 will not maintain prescription drug coverage through the same plan next year because four of the 10 plans will be unavailable, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Affected patients will be notified by Medicare and automatically enrolled in new plans. Members of AARP, UnitedHealth or PacifiCare plans that will no longer be offered will be reassigned to a new AARP plan.
Despite the loss, the number of stand-alone plans available in California is increasing, according to the Chronicle.
Stand-alone plans -- which cover only prescription medication -- increased from about 47 last year to 55 for 2007.
According to federal officials, the average national premium for a Medicare drug plan will remain at $24 monthly in 2007. The lowest-cost plan in California will be WellCare Classic, with a monthly premium at $9.70.
Health experts advise citizens to consider plan options more than the premium price when choosing a plan. Plans with higher premiums could offer better coverage and lower out-of-pocket expenses (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/3).