Premium may rise next year for Medicare Part D beneficiaries who receive low-income subsidy

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The Medicare Part D premium may rise in 2010 among some Part D beneficiaries who receive the low-income subsidy (LIS) benefit, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Thursday.

Some beneficiaries who receive the LIS to pay for their premiums will need to move to a new plan to ensure that they can remain in a zero-premium plan in 2010, CMS said. The agency, working with its partners, will notify all individuals in this situation to make sure they are aware of their options. Nearly 10 million beneficiaries are currently receiving drug coverage through the LIS benefit, CMS said. The average value of the Part D benefit, premium subsidy, and cost-sharing subsidy for low-income enrollees is estimated to be about $4,000 in 2010.       

Meanwhile, the majority of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in drug plans will not see significant changes in their premiums in 2010. CMS estimates that the average monthly premium that beneficiaries will pay for standard Part D coverage in 2010 will be $30, an increase of $2 over the 2009 average premium of $28.