Medicare Costs Going Up In 2009, So Be Ready To Compare Plans

If there’s one group of Americans who don’t carry their weight and need to pay more money to the healthcare industry, it’s those layabout senior citizens! That’s why their Medicare drug premiums are increasing by an average of 31% for the 10 most popular plans beginning in 2009. If you were with Humana, formerly the cheapest Medicare drug plan you could get (its premium was $9.51 in 2006), you can expect to pay $40.83 per month in 2009, an increase of 60% over this year’s rate. As you would expect, Humana is no longer the cheapest option—so it may be time to shop around for a new plan.

When the drug program began in 2006, Humana’s premiums were among the cheapest. Humana, Mr. Noland said, has provided the most cumulative value for its drug-plan members, saving them an average of $4,900 on drug costs during that time and that the premiums are still in line with rivals.

The drug plans are heavily subsidized by the federal government and are offered through private insurance companies. Insurers will begin advertising their plans Oct. 1, and the six-week enrollment period starts in mid-November.

It’s unclear how the price increases will affect the market. Medicare beneficiaries tend to select a plan and stay with it, and the market is highly concentrated.

“Medicare Drug Premium on Rise” [Wall Street Journal]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. JustinAche says:

    The worst part is the donut hole. I used to sell insurance, and even though these plans were an easy 40 bucks commission, I hated to know that some of the people, the people who needed the best insurance, were going to hit that $ 2,500 part in the next few months. Sucks to be sick.

  2. The drug “help” for seniors is quickly becoming…

    …less help.

    Link for article that works:

    [online.wsj.com]

  3. dweebster says:

    Boy, if only we could find a few billion to “bail out” the broken medical care system – nationalize it and just make it universal health care.

    But that’s not a priority to our “representatives”… Paying criminals to clean up the mess of the criminals that bribed and deregulated our financial system is so much more important than keeping a healthy populace….

    • purplesun says:

      @dweebster: I try not to think about it too much. It just makes me angry and stressed. Anger and stress can lead to high blood pressure and worsened immunity, which can lead to heart attacks and fatal infections.

      I can’t afford to think about it!

      Excuse. I have to go find some sand to bury my head in.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @dweebster:

      You know there are options between the current parody of a free market and socialized/single payer health care.

      [www.pbs.org]

      This has been posted here before.

    • Angryrider says:

      @dweebster: No! Universal Health Care impedes the growth of the Insurance Industry, and takes away their right to choice!

      This isn’t going to happen anytime soon, Americans are uninformed, and our Government is in Big Insurance’s pocket.

  4. Mr Fife says:

    When the Bush folks first proposed this plan, I knew that it would end up screwing the very people it was supposed to help. The government is owned by drug companies. Congress lets them write our laws and then rubberstamps them. “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”,are fear inspiring words.

  5. TangDrinker says:

    GRIT! ha ha ha. Do they still offer incentives for selling subscriptions? Like a jump rope collection?

    Thanks for posting this. My inlaws are in their 70’s and are on one of these plans. Looks like we’ll have to start researching for them soon. They never tell us about these changes – until it’s too late.

  6. BustangBetty says:

    I used to work for several Canadian internet pharmacies and I just could not believe how much drugs cost in the USA compared to Canada. Not only that but after a certain allotted time the drug usually went generic in Canada. This is definitely not the case in the USA.

    Proair which is a fast acting drug for asthma users is roughly $35.00 in Washington State however in Canada the generic form of it is a mere $12.00. This is just one example of many other drugs that are out there.

    I find it amusing that Americans are being told the drugs that are manufactured in Canada are fake or not as good however several pharmaceutical companies have manufacturers in Canada, UK and other countries and have no problem exporting them to the USA and for a lot more money.

    If anyone decides to order from an internet pharmacy, please do your research. If the company does not require you to mail your Rx then they are not legit. If you cannot find a physical address for them, do not deal with them. Do not mail your Credit Card information with your Rx and Health questionnaire (required to be filled out). No credit card information means that someone from the company will call when the order is being process. This saves you from someone along the way getting that credit card information and using it for some insane internet purchase.

    Also remember that anything more than a 3 month supply is considered trafficking by Homeland Securities rules and regulations. Sometimes not always packages are seized. Keep in mind that the internet pharmacy is not to blame and yes it can take up to 3 weeks for the meds to get to your place, even if you asked for expedited shipping. Do not “blame Canada” for USPS’s crappy carriers.

  7. twstinkers says:

    That GRIT comment had me laughing for a while. I was pleasantly surprised that GRIT still exists (www.grit.com).

    • dvdchris says:

      @twstinkers: Does it? Has anyone ever SEEN an actual copy of Grit? I used to read those comic book ads about it. One long one in particular I didn’t know was already 20 years old at the time.

  8. ironchef says:

    the medicare drug plan specifically prohibits the government from negotiating volume discounts.

    those damn lobbyists.

  9. elanne says:

    This year, 2008, between the premium taken out for Part B and my RX coverage, $125 gets subtracted from my monthly Social Security check. With that I still have deductibles to pay for everything and there is really precious little that is covered. Forget even minimal dental or eye care.

    Many people assume that if you have Medicare, you also get your state program (usually called Medicaid). Not so.

    Many also assume that Medicare is a total entitlement program. Not so. We pay for coverage and it is automatically deducted every month.

    Am I grateful for what I have? Yes, of course … but I still cannot afford to get sick. Not a good situation for anyone, but especially not good for those of us who are elderly.