Medicare Drug Premiums Higher for 2007
California beneficiaries of Medicare's prescription drug program are likely to see a premium increase if they choose to remain in their current plan for next year, according to a report by the California HealthCare Foundation, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The increase would affect enrollees in stand-alone drug plans.
Some consumer health care organizations and the federal government have said that the majority of Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries would save money if they choose a different plan for 2007 (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/19).
The enrollment period for 2007 began Nov. 15 and ends Dec. 31.
CMS spokesperson Henry Tyson said that more than 80% of enrollees can save money this year if they choose a new plan (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 11/17).
In California, 24 private insurers are offering 55 plans for 2007, compared with 19 insurers offering 44 plans for 2006. Monthly premiums for 2007 plans range from $9.70 to $80.90, compared with a range of $5.41 to $66.08 in 2006.
More insurers are offering coverage for patients who reach the so-called "doughnut hole," which in 2007 begins when total drug costs -- out-of-pocket spending on top of federal spending -- reach $2,400 (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/19). Beneficiaries will be responsible for drug costs until total out-of-pocket spending reaches $3,850 (California Healthline, 11/16).
Fourteen plans in California offer coverage within the doughnut hole in 2007, twice the amount in 2006. One plan offers coverage for name-brand drugs (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/19).