Plan sponsors that pay the Medicare Part B premium or deductible should carefully review their plan documents and communications to assure that they are accurately stating the amount that the plan intends to pay. For example, plans that simply promise to pay the “Part B deductible” may want to set that payment at a firm amount or maximum. If the plan is vague regarding the amount of the Part B premium that the plan will pay, costs could inadvertently increase as the Part B premium rises, and could rise substantially if the plan has participants subject to income-based indexing.
Medicare Supplement Premium Comparison Guide for 2010
PLEASE NOTE: each rate chart contains rates for only those insurance companies licensed to sell those specific Medicare Supplement insurance plans to individuals in Illinois. The rates listed are the approximate amount the insurers charge by age for your geographic region of the state of Illinois. This Guide has been categorized into three distinct regions and each respective region has a corresponding color within the rate charts for ease of reference:
2010 Medicare Part D Program Compared to 2009, 2008 and 2007
Reference-Based Pricing – Under these programs, sponsors may require enrollees to pay a defined cost-sharing amount plus supplemental cost-sharing based on the differential in cost between the drug being dispensed and a lower-cost preferred alternative such as a generic equivalent. In contract year 2009, fewer than 10% of Part D contracts used reference-based pricing. Given the complexity of reference-based pricing formulas, it is very difficult to accurately convey the extent of expected out-of-pocket spending for formulary drugs subject to reference-based pricing. For this reason, CMS has been unable to have the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder (MPDPF) calculate correct pricing for drugs subject to reference-based pricing, which may distort projections of out-of-pocket expenditures for some beneficiaries and significantly affect their ability to compare cost-sharing obligations under different plans and choose the plan that best meets their needs. Based on CMS’ experience and the increased complexity, CMS has observed with these programs, CMS will eliminate the option of reference-based pricing in the Part D Prescription Benefit Program (PBP) beginning in CY 2010. The basis for this decision is CMS’ belief that reference-based pricing may be inherently misleading to beneficiaries and inconsistent with their goal of improving transparency with regard to expected beneficiary cost-sharing under the Part D program.
Medicare Plan Finder for Health, Prescription Drug and Medigap plans
Medicare Premiums Predicted to Increase While Congress is Getting Pay
On October 19, 2009, the New York Times reported that there would be an increase to Medicare Part B premiums from $100 to $115, a 15% increase. The Times article said, "About 12 million people, or 27 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, will have to pay higher premiums or have the additional amounts paid on their behalf." On November 5, 2010, the Social Security Administration published a report of increases of Medicare premiums that said that depending on what plan participants are enrolled, the increases would vary. These policies were enacted while the 111th Congress, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, was in session. The Republican majority led 112th House did not take office until January 3, 2011, months after the changes to Medicare were enacted. For the most part, increases in premiums affect Medicare participants of Part B. The report said, "Most beneficiaries will continue to pay the same $96.40 or $110.50 premium amount in 2011. Beneficiaries who currently have the Social Security Administration (SSA) withhold their Part B premium and have incomes of $85,000 or less (or $170,000 or less for joint filers) will not have an increase in their Part B premium in 2011." It went on to say, "For all others, the standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $115.40 in 2011, which is a 4.4% increase over the 2010 premium. The Medicare Part B premium is increasing in 2011 due to possible increases in Part B costs. If your income is above $85,000 (single) or $170,000 (married couple), then your Medicare Part B premium may be higher than $115.40 per month." TruthOrFiction.com has not found any evidence that the Social Security Administration has announced any future increases to Medicare premiums. Any cost predictions not posted on the Medicare or SSA sites should be considered speculation. For current quotes on premiums Medicare has put up a cost page: Click for Medicare premium information.