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Staying with your Medicare prescription plan could cost you more in 2020

About 9 million people with Medicare Part D plans will see higher premiums if they don’t make a change before Dec. 7, a new study says.
An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that two-thirds of Medicare Part D beneficiaries, or about 9 million people who don’t receive low-income subsidies, will see their monthly premium increase for next year if they stay in their current plan. To sort through your options, visit the Times' Medicare guide at tampabay.com/news/health or contact Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, a state program commonly known as SHINE. Contact them at 1-800-963-5337 or information@elderaffairs.org. [MICHELE MILLER | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 18

Even though Medicare beneficiaries have more choices when it comes to Part D plans for 2020 coverage, the cost for prescription drug plans continues to rise.

An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that two-thirds of Part D beneficiaries, or about 9 million people who don’t receive low-income subsidies, will see their monthly premium increase for next year if they stay in their current plan. About one-third of beneficiaries will see some drop in premiums, according to the analysis, which examined open enrollment data for the 2020 period.

The Medicare open enrollment period began Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7.

RELATED: The Times Medicare Guide: A road map for 2020

Kaiser found that the 1.9 million people who enrolled in the Humana Walmart Rx plan — the third most popular stand-alone prescription drug plan in 2019 — will see monthly premiums more than double, on average. The spike is due to Humana consolidating previous Part D plans into a new one called Humana Premier Rx. Part D beneficiaries who do not enroll in a new plan will see premiums rise from $28 to $57 automatically if they don’t switch.

Another example is the CVS Health SilverScript Choice plan, the nation’s largest stand-alone Part D plan. Those enrolled in this plan will see a $2 decrease in average monthly premiums, from $31 this year to $29 in 2020. However, the plan’s annual deductible is increasing from zero dollars to between $215 and $435 next year, according to Kaiser.

RELATED: Compare costs with the Times’ prescription drug guide

The national average monthly premium for drug coverage is projected to increase by 7 percent to $42.05, Kaiser estimated. There are 20 stand-alone Part D plans available nationwide, with the average lowest premium charging $13 a month to the highest being $83 a month.

In Florida, 27 plans are offered, with monthly premiums ranging from $13.20 to $167.30.

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