2013 Medicare premiums steady as open enrollment begins

Time to talk Medicare: Open enrollment begins on October 15 and runs through December 7.

It’s that time of year again – open enrollment period for the Medicare program, allowing seniors and other beneficiaries to review, compare and update their health choices, including their prescription drug benefit.

Open enrollment begins today and lasts through Dec. 7.

And there’s good news for beneficiaries as they pick their plan: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says the average monthly Medicare prescription drug premium for 2013 will be $30 – virtually unchanged for the past three years and 50 percent lower than initial projections.

Since 2006, the Medicare prescription drug program has delivered market-based competition into government healthcare offerings for prescription drug coverage. These plans compete to deliver affordable coverage for beneficiaries and value for taxpayers.

And they have proven to be very popular.

As we discussed here, the 2012 Medicare Today beneficiary satisfaction survey found that overall satisfaction with the Medicare prescription drug benefit has increased from 78 percent to 90 percent since the program was first implemented. More than 40 million people with Medicare (90 percent of all beneficiaries) now have the option of comprehensive prescription drug coverage, which helps provide high-quality and high-value healthcare for America’s seniors.

We encourage Medicare beneficiaries to take the time to find the plan that is best for them and their health needs. There are many useful resources available to help enrollees evaluate coverage options and make informed decisions. People with Medicare can call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/ for more plan information.

Another helpful resource is My Medicare Matters, led by the National Coalition on Aging, that has a consumer-friendly Web site that takes one step by step through the decision-process and includes links to specific sections of the Medicare.gov website.