Healthcare costs are taking some of the steepest jumps in years. Here are three of the biggest problem areas:
Drug plan premiums: More than 15 million people enrolled in Medicare’s stand alone Part D prescription drug plans face premium increases averaging 13% for 2016. That’s a big jump in any year, but people enrolled in Medicare’s most popular drug plans will pay far more with premiums increasing up to 26%. The following chart illustrates five of the biggest plans with the steepest premium increases:
|2016 Prescription Drug Plan||2015 Average Premium||2016 Average Premium||% of Change (2015 – 2016)|
|AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus (PDP)||$28.00||$35.23||26%|
|Humana Enhanced (PDP)||$52.81||$66.25||25%|
|AARP MedicareRxPreferred (PDP)||$50.18||$60.79||21%|
|Humana Walmart Rx Plan (PDP)||$15.67||$18.40||17%|
|Cigna-HealthSpring Rx Secure (PDP)||$31.33||$36.39||16%|
Excessive drug cost increases: Generics don’t necessarily mean lower drug costs for all. The price of more than 3,500 drugs doubled from 2008 to 2015 and 400 went up more than 1,000%. This trend is increasing the amount people will pay in copayments next year, and also causes many beneficiaries to hit the Part D doughnut hole more quickly than ever before.
Unexpected charges from out-of-network providers. People who get common treatments from doctors and facilities that are participating in their Medicare Advantage plans routinely receive bills that are anywhere from 118%, to an astounding 1,382% higher than what the federal Medicare system is billed for the same services. People enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan should check with the health plan to make sure they get referred to in-network doctors and other providers before getting healthcare services.
“Pressures Mounting For Medicare Drug Benefit,” Avalere Health, September 30, 2015. “Why Drug Prices Remain Insanely High And 6 Things You Can Do To Save,” Elizabeth O’Brien, Market Watch, September 15, 2015. “New Report finds Patients Facing Exorbitant Charges For Out-of-Network Services,” America’s Health Insurance Plans, September 30, 2015.