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Medicare Drug Premiums Remain Stable Four Years in a Row

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On the 48th anniversary of the signing of Medicare and Medicaid into law, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released data showing that the average premium for a basic prescription drug plan in 2014 is projected to remain stable, at an estimated $31 per month.

This news comes as seniors and people with disabilities continue to save money on out of pocket drug costs. Yesterday, HHS announced that more than 6.6 million people with Medicare have saved over $7 billion on prescription drugs as a result of the Affordable Care Act, an average of $1,061 per beneficiary. The Affordable Care Act closes the donut hole over time.

"Seniors are benefiting from improved benefits and low premiums, thanks to a competitive and transparent marketplace for Medicare drug plans," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

For the fourth straight year, the average Medicare Part D monthly premium will remain steady, and is projected to be $31. For the last three years -- for plan years 2011, 2012, and 2013 -- the average premium was projected to be $30. Today's projection for the average premium for 2014 is based on bids submitted by drug and health plans for basic drug coverage during the 2014 benefit year, and calculated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary.

CMS has already announced that key parameters for Part D will actually be lower in 2014 than in 2013. For example, the Part D deductible will fall from $325 to $310, producing additional savings for enrollees.

The upcoming annual open enrollment period - which begins October 15 and ends December 7 - allows people with Medicare, working with their families and their caregivers, to choose their plans for next year by comparing their current coverage and quality ratings to other plan offerings. New benefit choices are effective Jan. 1, 2014.

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, go to www.healthcare.gov.


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