Medicare Drug Program: Changes Ahead (Please Finish)

It is possible that about 2 million Medicare participants could be switched over to a different insurance plan for their prescription drugs next year. Some may have to even shop around to avoid the double-digit premium increases coming. Starting from November 15, open enrollment periods may see some increased action through the last day of the period on December 31.

“Everybody needs to shop around every year,” said Patricia Nemore, senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. “Just because you like your plan this year doesn’t mean that plan will work the same next year.”

Often plans change their coverage each year. They change which drugs they will cover, for safety reasons, as well as the premium they will charge per month to remain competitive.

On average, Medicare Part D plans will charge a monthly premium of $28 in 2008, but the premiums vary widely across the nearly 1,800 plans around the country. The premiums range from $9.80 for a basic benefit to $107.50 for enhanced coverage.

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