2012 Medicare premiums steady; industry supports program

Federal health officials announced today that the national average Medicare prescription drug premium will not increase next year, thanks in part to competition built into the system.

Bloomberg reports:

Medicare Administrator Donald Berwick said that the largely unchanged premiums, combined with drug discounts in the 2010 health overhaul, will lower out-of-pocket spending by Medicare beneficiaries.

“It’s a competitive market and we’re seeing the effect of good competition among Part D plans take its effect,” Berwick said on a call with reporters announcing the rates.

AstraZeneca and the biopharmaceutical industry are committed to doing our part to help patients with Medicare pay for their prescription medicines.

Notably, as part of its support for health care reform legislation, the industry agreed to contribute more than $100 billion over the next decade to pay for the federal health care reform law enacted last year. A significant part of that money will go to help cut out-of-pocket costs on brand name medicines by 50 percent for Medicare patients who reach the prescription drug coverage gap.

Seniors are already seeing significant savings under the existing Medicare prescription drug benefit and are highly satisfied with the program.  On average, patients are saving $1,200 a year on their medicines, and qualifying low-income beneficiaries will save about $4,000 in 2011 – even before additional savings before health care reform, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

AstraZeneca also provides support to Medicare patients who need help paying for our medicines through our prescription savings programs. Click here to learn more about this program and whether AstraZeneca may be able to help you or your family save on your prescription drug costs.

Update: Click here to see the latest survey data on the popularity of the Medicare prescription savings program.