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The average monthly premium for a basic prescription drug plan under Medicare Part D will be just $1 higher next year, the government projects.

medicare-pillWhat’s more, Medicare beneficiaries get some of the credit for keeping the average low by shopping around, the Associated Press reports. For this year, seven of the top 10 Medicare drug plans raised premiums by 10 percent or more. But the average stayed low because many seniors chose plans with lower premiums. “Consumer advocates say beneficiaries should check their plan during open enrollment, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and look for better deals if they’re not satisfied,” the AP story says.

Monthly premiums have held steady during the past three years at about $30 but will be $31 in 2014, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). And the Part D deductible will fall from $325 to $310 next year.

“Seniors are benefiting from improved benefits and low premiums, thanks to a competitive and transparent marketplace for Medicare drug plans,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in announcing the projections.

A day earlier, HHS announced that the Affordable Care Act has helped more than 6.6 million Medicare beneficiaries save more than $7 billion on prescription drugs — an average of $1,061 per person. The 2010 law closes the doughnut hole over time.

 

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