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Medicare Part D premiums to inch up in 2010

The majority of Medicare beneficiaries currently enrolled in a prescription drug plan will only see a minor increase in their premiums in 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Aug. 13. Based on the bids submitted by Part D plans, CMS estimates that the average monthly premium beneficiaries will pay for standard coverage in 2010 will be $30, an increase of $2 over the 2009 premium. "The majority of beneficiaries enrolled in prescription drug plans should see only small changes in their Part D premiums or benefits in the coming year," said Jonathan Blum, acting director of the CMS Center for Health Plan Choices. "Although most Part D plans should have relatively stable premiums, all beneficiaries should compare their current coverage with the plans that will be offered in 2010." That information is expected to be available in October. When open enrollment begins later this year, some seniors may need to take steps to ensure they have the coverage they need. This is particularly true for the nearly 10 million low-income beneficiaries who receive a government subsidy to help pay their premiums. If eligible beneficiaries are enrolled in plans where the 2010 premium will be higher than the 2010 subsidy, CMS will assign them to new plans. CMS expects that about 800,000 beneficiaries will need to move to a plan charging below the benchmark amount or be automatically reassigned. Beneficiaries who don't want to switch must indicate so. Premiums and benefits for Medicare Advantage plans and more details about the Part D plans are to be announced in September, as is the list of plans that are not renewing Medicare contracts for 2010. The full and original article can be found here: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/08/24/gvsc0826.htm
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