Average Medicare Part D monthly premium to rise by $3 in 2009

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Average Medicare Part D monthly premium to rise by $3 in 2009
Average Medicare Part D monthly premium to rise by $3 in 2009
The average monthly premium for standard beneficiaries in the Medicare Part D drug program is expected to rise by $3 next year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid disclosed Thursday.

Beneficiaries will pay $28, CMS estimates. The increase is due to general trends in drug costs, the phase-out of a CMS demonstration project, and higher plan estimates for catastrophic coverage based on prior experience, the agency said in a news release. The 2009 premium is 37% lower than the amount originally projected when the benefit was established three years ago, CMS said.

Low-income subsidy beneficiaries may find that their plan has a higher premium next year, CMS said. If the beneficiary does not choose to stay in that plan, CMS will assign the beneficiary to a new plan sponsor, effective Jan. 1. In April, CMS issued a final rule designed to reduce such reassignments. Dual eligibles, or those who receive Medicare and Medicaid, do not pay for their drug coverage. Many residents of nursing homes are in this category.