2011 Part D premium increase under 1% for most popular plans

October 15, 2010

According to a new report from Avalere Health, a healthcare consulting firm located in Washington D.C., the average 2011 Part D premium increase for the top ten prescription drug plans will be just o.23 percent – about 8 cents a month.  The top ten plans enroll about 11.7 million people representing 71 percent of all Part D plan beneficiaries. For all PDPs combined, premium increases are expected to be 9.5 percent – growing from $37.19 to $30.72 per month. The top three plans, which enroll more than 7 million people, will actually see premiums go down by 5.3 percent, from $37.47 to $35.50.

This report updates Avalere’s earlier prediction that the top ten plans’ premiums would rise by 10 percent – a result of one plan with a very high premium increase that was initially expected to be among the most popular dropping out of the top ten.

The analysis was based on data released by CMS on September 21st and Avalere’s own proprietary DataFrame(r) database.

12 Responses to “2011 Part D premium increase under 1% for most popular plans”

  1. Bert Noack said

    Need info on Medigap plan

    • cholla45 said

      Before we can answer your question fully we need more information from you. I’m guessing that you’re talking about 2011 premium rate information? All Medigap plans have to submit their planned rate increases to your state Department of Insurance for approval, and they can’t publish that information until they have the DoI approval in hand. It’s pretty normal for Medigap plan rates not to be available until December 1st.

      I talked with the person at Extend Health who manages our relationships with insurance companies, and he says you can expect the usual rate increase for these plans to be between 6 and 8 percent. (You are always welcome to call one of our Benefit Advisors and ask them to help you review available plans in your area to see if you can find a better value for your money. The general number for our service center is 1-866-322-2824.)

      If you’re referring to some other issue than the 2011 premium rate, can you please reply with a little more detail and I’ll see if I can find an answer? Thanks!

  2. Bob said

    So why did Medco inctrease premium from $77 to $110?

    • cholla45 said

      Hi Bob,

      I suggest you visit the link to the Avalere report in this post, to get the complete picture. Some prescription drug plans are increasing a great deal – some are increasing very little or even decreasing their premiums. The big picture – that the ten largest plans are only raising premiums a small amount – doesn’t mean that other plans aren’t increasing their premiums more, even quite a bit more (as in the case of Medco).

      The lesson here is that, if you see a big increase in your plan premium, you should go shopping during the annual enrollment period to see if there’s a less costly plan that works for you. (Extend Health benefit advisors are always available to help you compare plans in your area – you can call us at 1-866-322-2824, or if you worked with Extend Health during a change from your employer’s group plan to an individual Medicare plan, you may have a unique phone number that you already use.)

  3. My AARP MedicareRx Preferred (PDP)booklet page 2 talks abt premiums being higher for
    singles over $85000 and married couples over $170000. But no specifics. Can you help? That’s the Annual Notice of Changes for 2011 booklet.

    • cholla45 said

      Dear Mr. Clark,

      The healthcare reform bill (the PPACA) created a requirement that as of Jan 1 2011, higher income people will pay an extra amount in addition to their monthly prescription drug premium. This extra amount is called the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. IRMAA will affect those people whose modified adjusted gross income is $85,000 or more (for singles) and $170,000 or more (for couples filing jointly) in 2009 and later. The extra amount will be deducted automatically from your Social Security check.

      I called Medicare to see if they could give me more specifics, and they told me that individuals should call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to learn what the exact amount will be and to learn if they qualify for assistance with the IRMAA.

      I hope that helps!

  4. Tom Rogers said

    The average might be small, but we were just notified that our part D premium is increasing by 142%! That’s not a typo, it is not 1.42 or 14.2 but one-hundred and forty two percent. That is outrageous and we will be looking for something better.

    • cholla45 said

      That’s exactly the right move, Mr. Rogers! We encourage people to exercise their power as buyers of health care insurance and go comparison shopping when they see such out of line price increases.

      You can do a side-by-side comparison of plans available in your area on the Extend Health website, by the way, and if you call our service center a benefit advisor will be happy to help you sort out the actual cost and out of pocket expenses you can expect with each plan.

  5. Pamela said

    Mine went up 200%! So, like Tom, I am also looking for something better.

    • cholla45 said

      That’s exactly the right thing to do. You can use the Extend Health exchange to look at plans available in your area: http://www.extendhealth.com. You don’t have to enter any contact info to compare plans, but if you want to talk to someone we have a great staff of benefit advisors who can help you sort through your options.

  6. It is also a good idea for everyone enrolled to consider another take a look at their Part D prescription drug coverages throughout the open enrollment period. The policies change annually; this year, you can even find more differences due to healthcare reform. I wrote about the need to review Part D a couple of weeks before open enrollment began. This is just an indication.

  7. cholla45 said

    Dear Susan,

    I’m sorry you feel the article is misleading. We were trying to point out a bright spot in the otherwise unhappy trend of constantly rising health care costs.

    However, not sure where you’re getting the figure of 200% increases for deductibles. If your Part D plan had that kind of deductible increase, you need to go back and look at other plans as soon as possible so you can find a better one for 2011. You have until December 31st to make changes, so don’t delay. You can call a benefit advisor at Extend Health, or use the exchange on our website, to research better options. Good luck!

    Sincerely,
    Chris Holland

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