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Popular Medicare Drug Plans to See Double-Digit Premium Hike

Customers will need to shop around to avoid price increases


Seniors enrolled in popular Medicare prescription drug plans may want to take a look at their premiums. According to a report by Avalere Health, seven of the 10 most popular Medicare prescription drug plans are increasing their premiums by double digits.

This seems to fly in the face of the Obama administration’s sunny view on Medicare. According to them, the average premium for basic prescription drug coverage in 2013 would stay the same, at $30 a month. Obviously, though, averages aren’t applied evenly across the board, from plan to plan. It also factors in all plans, not just the most popular ones.

Among the most popular Medicare drug plans, all of the 10 most popular plans are facing increases. The seven plans facing double-digit hikes include:

  • Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (23%)
  • First Health Part D Premier (18%)
  • First Health Part D Value Plus (17%)
  • Cigna Medicare Rx Plan One (15%)
  • Express Scripts Medicare-Value (13%)
  • HealthSpring Prescription Drug Plan (12%)
  • Humana Enhanced (11%)

Also increasing their rates are SilverScript Basic (8%), WellCare Classic (3%), and the most popular plan, AARP MedicareRx Preferred (1%).

Still, Avalere Health did find that premiums would remain steady in 2013 if seniors did switch to lower-cost coverage. And lower-cost coverage plans, like AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus Plan, are entering the market. Still, customers are going to have to do a little homework and legwork if they want to avoid paying a lot more for their prescription drug plans.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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