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Medicare Prices in 2016

Shifts in health-care plans can lead to soaring prices in 2016.

American senior citizens who use Medicare Advantage insurance plans will have fewer choices, and can expect to pay more, when they select a plan for 2015, according to information revealed Wednesday by the federal agency that oversees Medicare.

Several insurers have discontinued plans – and raised rates in their remaining plans – in response to declining federal subsidies for the popular managed Medicare program, which serves more than half of the region’s seniors.

On the fun scale, reviewing Medicare coverage probably ranks between traffic court or a root canal. But it is that time of year again: Medicare open enrollment period is just around the corner, and those who do not review their plan details could find themselves paying a lot more than what they bargain for next year.

Medicare open enrollment begins October 15th through December 7th, and during this time enrollees can switch from original Medicare, pick a new Medicare Part D drug plan, or a new Medicare Advantage plan into a Medicare Advantage plan, which is managed by private health plans that have contracts with Medicare.

If you follow measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the average premium increases for 2015 are expected to be modest and keeping with historically low growth rates, which Medicare has experiences in recent years across various spending categories.

By now, enrollees in Part D drug plan or in a Medicare Advantage plan should have received an annual notice of change from their insurance carriers. This annual notice of change outlines changes in costs or service areas, and coverage areas that will take effect in January. About 70% of enrollees with Medicare Part D plans will see a rate increase for 2015 if they do not switch plans.

The typical beneficiary will see an increase of $4.07, or 11% per month, to $41.34 per month. The centers for Medicare and Medicaid services announces that the the average Part D is projected to be $32 monthly for next year. Some 40% of those on Medicare Advantage will see a premium increase in their existing plan, they will see an increase of $2.94, or 9.4% per month, to $33.90 per month.

Look beyond premiums

Premiums are only one part of the coverage equation. Beneficiaries should take closers looks at their drug coverage. These plans often will make changes to their formularies, as the list of covered drugs is called. If you rely on a drug plan, which has been dropped to a lower coverage tier or dropped altogether by your plan, you could be in for a shock when you refill or fill your next prescription.

Shifts in health-care plans can lead to soaring prices. | Medicare Prices 2016

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