Archive for Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Medicare Part D to increase slightly

August 18, 2009


As millions debate our nation’s health care system and the rising costs of care, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services offered a small dose of good news Monday, depending on how you look at it.

The majority of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in drug plans will not see significant increases in their premiums in 2010. But there is an increase.

CMS estimates that the average monthly premium for standard Part D coverage will be $30, an increase of $2, or 7 percent, over this year.

That’s less than the 12 percent increase between 2008 and 2009, when the average premium rose from $25 to $28.

There are 11,300 Douglas County residents eligible for Medicare Part D, a federal program that subsidizes the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries, and about 6,890 are enrolled in a plan.

“Although most Part D plans should have relatively stable premiums, all beneficiaries should compare their current coverage with the plans that will be offered in 2010 when information becomes available in October,” said Jonathan Blum, acting director of CMS’ Center for Health Plan Choices, in a news release.

In particular, some beneficiaries who receive the low-income subsidy to pay for their premiums will need to move to a new plan to ensure that they can remain in a zero-premium plan in 2010.

Nearly 10 million people receive drug coverage under the low-income subsidy benefit. CMS expects that about 800,000 of those beneficiaries will need to move to a new plan or be automatically reassigned by CMS.

The agency is currently notifying all individuals who are in this situation.

In Douglas County, there are about 1,550 people that receive the low-income subsidy benefit. According to CMS, another 305 may be eligible but are not enrolled.

The time to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan or to switch plans is Nov. 15 to Dec. 31. Anyone who does not have any drug coverage and is not enrolled in a Medicare prescription plan might want to consider it, if eligible. That’s because a penalty will be charged for joining later.

During the enrollment period, volunteers with the Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas program will be available at the Lawrence Senior Center to help answer questions and enroll seniors in a plan.

Janet Ikenberry, community services manager for Douglas County Senior Services, advises beneficiaries to be on the lookout for information regarding their drug plans. Companies are required to notify their clients of any changes by the end of October.

“It gets kind of confusing for people,” she said. “For someone who doesn’t have a grasp on it, it is awful for them.”


Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 10 months ago

This is outrageous. Who are all these freeloaders relying on government health care? What a joke.

This country is going to be destroyed by these socialist institutions. Keep the government out of health care! If all these freeloaders were on private insurance, the costs would be less and my taxes wouldn't keep going up.

Government involvement in health care is slowly turning this country into Communist Russia and Nazi Germany combined.

RogueThrill 8 years, 10 months ago

I can't tell if you are being honest Bob of if this is some sort of brilliant parody.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 10 months ago

Our private insurance costs wouldn't be so high if all these freeloaders weren't living off the government dime!

Once you start with these kinds of grossly inefficient government run programs, people get used to them and stop being productive members of society.

This program should be immediately scrapped, and the result would be everybody's insurance costs would be less. Private industry is always, 100% of the time, cheaper and more efficient than these socialized taxpayer funded boondoggles.

To those of you who may be using this government waste called Medicare Part D, please stop destroying my country. I want my America back you lazy bums.

meggers 8 years, 10 months ago

Uh, Bob? Medicare D coverage is provided by private insurers. I suggest you look up socialism and then get back to us.

Bobbi Walls 8 years, 10 months ago

Um Bob, without Medicare Part D, my husband would not be able to afford his life sustaining medications. Oh and by the way his insurance is through a private insurer named Community CCrx

1moreopinion 8 years, 10 months ago

A hot subject. My dad is 77 years old. He retired last Dec. when he was 76. He worked hard all his life, starting at the very early age of 9. His retirement is around $1200 a month. He chose to continue his healthcare insurance when he retired. His premiums for insurance are $700 per month. Yes, he has medicare part D and he pays the small premium for that. I am glad something is being given back to him after working almost 70 years of his life. So, let me say that you "barkers" who continually find negativity with this subject, get a

I am proud of my dad. Apparently some of you were born with a silver spoon sticking out of your oz, and therefore it doesn't affect you. Oh, my dad was never rich, but he and the family were happy. He scraped by all his life without all the riches. His house is paid for, has been for 30 years. Our elderly set examples for us to follow, but that trend is changing. In today's society we have the new thinkers who forget where they come from.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

"In 2003, the nonprofit watchdog group FamiliesUSA issued a report on executive pay in the 11 for-profit, publicly-traded health insurance companies that offer so-called Medicare+Choice plans, under which Medicare beneficiaries receive their coverage through a private insurer rather than directly from Medicare.

Annual CEO compensation ranged from $1.6 million at Humana to $76 million at Oxford, with an average of $15.1 million. And these figures do not include the average of $57.6 million in unexercised stock options these top dogs held.

Since executive pay is part of the overhead cost of running an insurance company, it's no wonder that traditional Medicare, which paid its chief executive $130,000 in 2002—and with no stock options—is able to operate with overhead costs of around 1%, while the private sector has overhead costs of 10% to 15%."

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 10 months ago

meggers (Anonymous) says…

Uh, Bob? Medicare D coverage is provided by private insurers. I suggest you look up socialism and then get back to us.

Oh really? And who is paying those private insurers?

Taxpayers, that's who. Just one step away from socialism.

I'm glad all of you old people think socialism is so great, but this is America. If you don't like it, I suggest you move someplace else and let those of us who are actually productive members of society have our country back.

Freeloaders and your socialized medicine.

frank mcguinness 8 years, 10 months ago

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