Average basic premiums for Medicare prescription-drug plans are expected to be $30 a month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today. They were projected to be $30 this year and ultimately averaged $29.67, she said.
The projected average premium for 2013 is based on bids submitted by drug and health plans for basic coverage, and calculated by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary.
Sebelius said Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket savings on prescriptions continue to increase, thanks to the federal Affordable Care Act. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said last month that more than 5.2 million people on Medicare have received a total of more than $3.9 million on medications in the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” since the federal law took effect.
The “doughnut hole” is a coverage gap that kicks in after the Medicare recipient and drug plan have spent a certain amount for covered drugs. After reaching that gap, recipients have to pay all out-of-pocket costs for medication up to a yearly limit, at which point the coverage gap ends. Coverage for prescription drugs in the coverage gap will continue to increase, and it will close in 2020 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to Sebelius.
New York runs the Elderly Prescription Insurance Coverage program, which helps low- and moderate-income New Yorkers 65 and older cover their out-of-pocket prescription costs for Medicare Part D.
Nationwide, more than a million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 on prescription drugs in the first half of this year, an average of $629 per person.
“Premiums are holding steady and, thanks to the health care law, millions of people with Medicare are saving an average of over $600 each year on their prescription drugs,” Sebelius said in a statement.
Enrollment for 2013 runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. New benefit choices are effective Jan. 1, 2013.