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Benefit Design and Formularies of Medicare Drug Plans: A Comparison of 2006 and 2007 Offerings

This analysis provides a profile of the 2007 Medicare Part D stand-alone drug plans that are being offered to the program’s 43 million beneficiaries for 2007 and highlights some of the changes in plans between 2006 and 2007.

It looks at premiums, covered drugs, the amount enrollees pay to fill a prescription, and other key features that would affect out-of-pocket costs and access to drugs for people with Medicare. The report describes the 1,875 stand-alone drug plans being offered for 2007 and provides a more in-depth look at the 10 plans available nationwide that had the largest number of enrollees in 2006.

The changes identified in the report underscore the importance for Medicare beneficiaries in reviewing key features of drug plans before enrolling in a plan for 2007. Medicare’s six-week open enrollment period runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31, 2006, and it represents the one opportunity this year for most people with Medicare to make changes to how they get their drug coverage.

The study was conducted by Jack Hoadley of Georgetown University, Elizabeth Hargrave and Katie Merrell of NORC at the University of Chicago, and Juliette Cubanski and Tricia Neuman of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Report (.pdf)