|CMS: Part D Premiums Estimated to Increase An Average Of $24 Per Year For 2010
The average monthly premium beneficiaries will pay for
Medicare Part D next year is estimated to increase about $2 more per
month, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services’ (CMS) Center for Health Plan Choices.
The figure is based on bids submitted to CMS by the Part
D plans. The average monthly premium for 2010 is estimated to be $30
compared to the 2009 average of $28.
CMS said the basic premiums paid by Part D enrollees
cover about 25 percent of the actual cost of the standard Part D drug
While most Part D enrollees should have stable premiums,
beneficiaries "should compare their current coverage with the plans
that will be offered in 2010 when information becomes available in
October," suggested Jonathan Blum, acting director of the Center for
Health Plan Choices.
The center said some beneficiaries who receive a
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
because the "plan’s premium will be higher than the 2010 subsidy
According to CMS almost 10 million enrollees are
receiving drug coverage through the low-income subsidy (LIS) benefit.
Average value of the Part D benefit, premium subsidy, and cost-sharing
subsidy for low-income enrollees is estimated to be about $4,000 in
2010, CMS said.
The problem is that the agency randomly auto-enrolls
beneficiaries in a Part D plan when they become eligible for the LIS
benefit. That premium is at or below the premium subsidy amount, if
they do not choose a plan themselves. As a result, these beneficiaries
do not have to pay any Part D premium.
Now, CMS will assign the beneficiary to a new plan
sponsor where they will not have to pay a premium in those cases where
an LIS-eligible beneficiary is enrolled in a plan where the 2010
premium will be higher than the 2010 subsidy amount unless the
beneficiary affirmatively chooses to stay in the plan, or chooses
Information on the 2010 national average monthly bid;
the base beneficiary premium; the regional low-income subsidy premium
amounts for 2010; and the 2010 Medicare Advantage regional preferred
provider organization benchmarks are available online at: www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicareAdvtgSpecRateStats/RSD/list.asp
Address: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21244; (877) 267-2323, www.cms.gov.