Avalere Health, a private research firm, has release figures that indicate that the Medicare plans that cater to about 70% of seniors will increase rates by an average of 10%. Seniors on Medicare are being urged to check their coverage and shop around for better plans to suit their needs. Complicating the issue are new regulations that require insurers to eliminate similar plans to streamline the process. For example, the AARP Medicare Rx Saver Plan that now carries more than 1.5 million members will be shut down and subscribers moved to another AARP plan.
One of the primary benefits to the changes will be the narrowing of the “doughnut hole” coverage gap. Seniors do not have to make any changes to their plans to qualify for the new discounts which could save some as much as 50% on brand name drugs.
Medicare officials responded that they are proceeding on the assumption that most seniors that face rate increases will seek to change plans to minimize the impact. The Medicare estimates indicate that, after accounting for plan changes, the average recipient will only see a $1.00 increase in premiums and will enjoy much stronger benefits. The average increases will be highly dependent upon the success of seniors in locating the appropriate plans to suit their needs.