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Seniors Beware: Drug Prices Going Up

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November 13, 2008

Bismarck, ND –Enrollment for the Medicare prescription drug program for next year will begin Saturday, and North Dakota seniors are being encouraged to give their insurance plans a review to avoid a shock next year. Many insurance providers plan on raising rates to cover a spike in drug costs. According to a private consulting group, Avalere Health, monthly premiums in the drug-only plans will go from an average of $26.03 in 2006 to $37.10 next year.

Marlowe Kro, with AARP North Dakota, says the price changes might not be the only change.

"The deductibles could have changed, and the co-pays or coinsurance may have changed; the list of drugs that certain plans cover may have changed."

With premiums increasing next year, Kro’s greatest concern is that eligible beneficiaries won't take the time to review their prescription plans.

"There are a number of people who, for whatever reason, do not compare plans from year to year and stay with the plan they had the previous year and that leads to surprises."

The open enrollment period begins November 15 and runs through December 31. The North Dakota State Health Insurance Counseling Program has scheduled nine Medicare Part D events around the state beginning next Monday to help North Dakotans with questions about the coverage.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND