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Raising Medicare Premiums for Higher-Income Beneficiaries: Assessing the Implications

As policymakers consider ways to slow the growth in Medicare spending as part of broader efforts to reduce the federal debt or offset the cost of other spending priorities, some have proposed to increase beneficiary contributions through higher Medicare premiums. This issue brief explains provisions of current law that impose income-related premiums under Medicare Part B and Part D, describes recent proposals to modify these requirements, and analyzes the potential implications for the Medicare population.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans: The Marketplace in 2013 and Key Trends, 2006-2013

This report presents findings from an analysis of the Medicare Part D marketplace in 2013 and changes in drug coverage and costs since 2006. It presents key findings related to Medicare drug plan availability, enrollment, premiums, low-income subsidies, the coverage gap, benefit design, cost sharing, formularies, and utilization management, based on data from CMS for all plans participating in Part D. The analysis was conducted jointly by researchers at Georgetown University, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Fact Sheet

This fact sheet includes the latest information and data about the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit, including current plan information, the standard benefit parameters, updates on additional low-income assistance, and the latest available enrollment data.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Plan Offerings in 2014

The 2014 Part D Data Spotlight analyzes information about the Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) options available to beneficiaries in 2014. The analysis shows that Medicare beneficiaries on average will have a choice of 35 stand-alone prescription drug plans in 2014, and somewhat more “benchmark” plans available to Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) beneficiaries nationwide. The weighted average premium will increase by 5 percent between 2013 and 2014 if enrollees remain in the same plans next year. The analysis also finds more plans are using preferred pharmacy networks and adopting a growing number of cost-sharing formulary tiers for different drugs.

To Switch or Not to Switch: Are Medicare Beneficiaries Switching Drug Plans To Save Money?

This analysis finds that relatively few Medicare beneficiaries have switched Part D prescription drug plans voluntarily during the annual open enrollment period — even though those who do switch often lower their out-of-pocket costs as a result of changing plans. The vast majority (87% on average between 2006 and 2010) stayed in the same Part D plan, even though the plans can change premiums, deductibles, cost-sharing amounts, and their list of covered drugs each year. Higher rates of plan switching were observed in PDPs that increased premiums, increased deductibles, or dropped coverage of brand-name drugs in the coverage gap.

Obamacare and You: If You Have Medicare…

This short explainer highlights some of the key information for people with Medicare about how Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, may affect them.

Medicare Advantage 2013 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update

This Data Spotlight provides an overview of Medicare Advantage enrollment patterns in March 2013, and examines variations by plan type, state, and firm. It also analyzes trends in premiums paid by beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, including variations by plan type, and describes the out-of-pocket limits and prescription drug coverage in the Part D “donut hole” provided by the plans in 2013.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan Availability in 2013

This fact sheet contains 2013 state-specific summary data about available Medicare drug benefit options, including premium ranges and the number of plans available at no cost to qualifying beneficiaries. Fact Sheet (.pdf)

Medicare at a Glance

This fact sheet provides a basic overview of the Medicare program, including how it is financed, who is eligible, and what benefits are covered under the program. In addition, it describes supplemental health insurance, out-of-pocket spending by people on Medicare, and data on Medicare expenditures and financing.