HHS: No drug premiums hike in 2012
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Aug. 4 that Medicare average prescription drug premiums will not increase in 2012.

Additionally, HHS stated that more Medicare recipients are receiving discounts on prescription drug costs and no-cost preventive services. According to the agency, new data indicate that 17 million people with Medicare have received free preventive services in 2011 while 900,000 Medicare beneficiaries who hit the prescription drug donut hole have received a 50 percent discount on their prescription drugs.

“The dollar amount of these out-of-pocket savings on drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries has risen to $461 million saved through June; up from $260 million through May, meaning beneficiaries in the donut hole saved over $200 million in the month of June alone,” HHS remarked.

From January  to July there were 17 million people, or 51.5 percent, with original Medicare who received one or more free preventive services. During the same time, one million Americans with original Medicare have participated in Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visit.

The cost of the average Medicare prescription drug plan premium in 2012 will be about $30, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated. The average premium in 2011 is $30.76.  The announcement was based on bids submitted by Part D plans for the 2012 plan year.

The national and regional premium data in the announcement can be found here.