House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D-CA) and House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) issued the following statements today in response to the release of 2009 Medicare prescription drug and Medicare Advantage plan options by CMS.
Rep. Stark: "Seniors in the Part D program have seen premium increases six times higher than employer-sponsored plans. We know the Part D benefit was designed to create maximum confusion for Medicare beneficiaries and maximum profits for private plans. Plans entice seniors with low premiums in the first year, only to jack them up in subsequent years."
Rep. Pallone: "As seniors prepare to choose a drug plan for the upcoming year, they should check the fine print. CMS claims that premiums are falling, but a new report shows that premiums in some plans have shot up by as much as 300 percent. CMS should level with America's seniors so they can make a decision that is in their best interest, not the insurance companies."
An analysis conducted by Avalere Health LLC found that premiums in the top 10 plans of enrollment grew on average by 30.6 percent, some more than 60 percent. Almost two-thirds of Part D plan (PDP) enrollment is in these 10 plans. Avalere's analysis found that if you signed up for Humana PDP Standard in 2006 and remained there, you have now experienced a 329 percent increase in your premium since the beginning of the benefit.