Medicare Drug Plan Prices to Increase After All


On September 29th, Medicare officials indicated they expected no increase in average monthly drug plan premiums for 2007. However, Rep. Harry Waxman (D-CA) calculated the average for all types of plans will escalate to $29.02 in 2007, up from $25.69 in 2006. Rep. Waxman’s figures include plans that provide coverage to beneficiaries through the "doughnut hole" gap. Mark McClellan, outgoing administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contends Rep. Waxman’s figures are "incomplete and misleading" because they only evaluate one type of plan.

Regardless, Medicare officials report the cheapest plans will rise by 44% and "minimum prices will more than double in 13 states." Those states having the least expensive plans in 2006 (the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming) will be the hardest hit. In these sates, the most inexpensive plans from Humana cost $1.87 in 2006, but in 2007, rates for the same types of plans will be $10.60.

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