This is the first detailed look at 2013 Medicare Part D prescription-drug-plan premiums in Massachusetts that I have seen. It is based on a web site I trust but it is not the medicare.gov Plan Finder, the site I trust the most for such information (I don't believe the new 2013 Part D plans are up on Plan Finder yet).
The bad news if I'm reading the data correctly is that the 2013 monthly premium for one of the most popular (that is, lowest cost) no-deductible Part D plans has jumped almost 20% from $25.80 in 2012 to $29.20. That appears to be the case even though Part D premiums only went up a few cents per month on average nationwide.
The good news is..
... that monthly premium is still less than the lowest cost no-deductible-plan premium in Massachusetts was in 2011. It also looks like there still is a $15 a month plan premium for seniors who wish to take a risk with a deductible (probably around $330) and that some Massachusetts plans cover some expenses in the "donut hole." (As explained here, the "donut hole" is not a big issue for Massachusetts seniors because of Prescription Advantage for middle-income seniors and Extra Help/LIS for low income seniors.)
But the further bad news is that I may have worded the first sentence in the second paragraph incorrectly. I can't tell from this initial page whether the same insurer and same plan that offered the lowest no-deductible-plan premium for 2012 is the same insurer and plan that offers the lowest no-deductible-plan premium for 2013 (the data is on the web site somewhere I think if you want to follow all the links). This could have changed multiple ways:
- Insurers have a track record of running a low-cost plan as a loss leader for a year, then upping the premium on that plan substantially the second year while introducing another low-cost plan with different features in the second year.
- In that case, seniors need to check and switch to the better priced plan for 2013 assuming the new plan covers the drugs they need (the old plan could have dropped their drugs also so you need to check either way).
- Or some other insurer may have simply come along and undercut the former low-cost insurer. Isn't competition great?
For more detailed information including -- most important -- formulary changes, I'll have to wait for medicare.gov, which will probably have 2013 information up in one to two weeks
-- Dennis Byron