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Monthly Part D premiums lower than initial estimates

Physician Practice Advisor, August 23, 2006

Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the Part D prescription drug program will pay an average monthly premium of about $24 in 2007, the same as the average monthly premium for this year, which is approximately 40% lower than initial estimates of $40 for 2007, according to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) press release.

The average total monthly premium, including the government's contribution, will be roughly $80 for 2007, compared with $92 in 2006. CMS attributes the lower projections to competitive bidding between the insurers who sponsor drug plans, as well as beneficiaries' preference for lower-priced plans.

CMS also announced plans to improve in the coming months the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder tool, which assists beneficiaries in selecting a Medicare Advantage plan by adding month-to-month cost sharing information and including information about the beneficiary's low income subsidy status, as well as their drug list and pharmacy selection.