Q1Medicare.com Brings the 2012 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan Information Online

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Q1Medicare.com now has the newly released 2012 stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan information online with Medicare Part D plans summarized on both national and state levels. Although the 2012 national average Medicare Part D plan premium will be slightly reduced, around 55% of all Medicare beneficiaries can expect to see increased monthly premiums unless they move to another, more affordable prescription drug plan in 2012. Also, as was true in 2011, most Medicare beneficiaries will find slightly fewer 2012 stand-alone prescription drug plans offered in their area. Medicare Part D plan designs will change in 2012 with slightly more Medicare Part D plans offering coverage with a $0 initial deductible. However, fewer 2012 Medicare Part D plans will offer any type of Donut Hole coverage and the monthly premiums for Medicare Part D plans offering Donut Hole coverage will increase. Finally, financial Extra-Help recipients in many states can expect a few more prescription drug plans qualifying for the full Low-Income Subsidy $0 premium.

Our PDP-Facts and PDP-Finder tools provide Q1Medicare users with a basic overview of the 2012 stand-alone Medicare Part D plan landscape.

Q1Medicare.com now offers seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries a preview of the 2012 stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Based on the 2012 Medicare Part D landscape data recently released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Q1Medicare.com has released their national and state-by-state interactive 2012 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan summaries. The 2012 stand-alone Medicare Part D plan data analysis can be found directly at PDP-Facts.com/2012 and includes a text version of the data analysis for each state.

According to the 2012 CMS Medicare Part D plan data, the average national monthly Medicare prescription drug plan premium will decrease slightly to around $54 or 2% below the 2011 national monthly premium average of around $55. Actual average monthly Medicare Part D premium changes vary by state or region. However, based on enrollment or plan popularity, about 55% of all Medicare Part D beneficiaries will see an average monthly premium increase of around $5 if these beneficiaries stay with their current 2011 prescription drug plan for 2012 instead of enrolling in another, more affordable Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription coverage.

As was also true in 2011, most Medicare beneficiaries will once again have slightly fewer 2012 stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans offered in their area. Although a generous selection of stand-alone Medicare Part D plans will be offered in each state, the average number of 2012 Medicare Part D plans fell to 31 plans from an average of 33 plans per state in 2011. Residents of Pennsylvania and West Virginia will have the largest selection of plans in the country with 36 different 2012 Medicare Part D plans available, a slight decrease from the 38 Medicare Part D plans offered in 2011. A listing of all the 2012 Medicare Part D plans offered in each state can be found at PDP-Finder.com/2012.

Medicare Part D plan designs will also change in 2012 and Medicare beneficiaries might notice a few more Medicare Part D plans offering coverage with the $0 (or no) initial deductible. However, fewer 2012 Medicare Part D plans will be offered with any type of Donut Hole coverage and the monthly premium for a Medicare Part D plan offering Donut Hole coverage will increase. Not surprisingly, no 2012 Medicare Part D plan offers complete Donut Hole coverage. Nevertheless, with the newly enacted Donut Hole Discount, most seniors will still be able to save some money if they enter the 2012 Coverage Gap portion of their Medicare Part D plan by receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs and a 14% discount on generic drugs while in the Donut Hole.

Seniors and Medicare beneficiaries qualifying for the full Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) or Extra Help program will still find most states offering a number of prescription drug plans qualifying for the $0 monthly LIS premium. The state with the largest number of LIS qualifying plans is Arkansas with 15 Medicare Part D plans, down from 16 plans in 2011. Yet, residents of 15 states, including Florida and Nevada, will find fewer LIS-qualifying 2012 Medicare Part D plans. Because of changes in the annual Part D plan premiums and state LIS premium benchmarks, some full LIS qualifying Medicare beneficiaries may be automatically reassigned to new 2012 plans still qualifying for the $0 monthly premium. However, Extra Help recipients who chose their own plan in the past will not be auto-reassigned to a new plan and may need to select a new 2012 Medicare Part D plan that still meets the $0 monthly premium threshold.

“Our PDP-Facts and PDP-Finder tools provide Q1Medicare users with a basic overview of the 2012 stand-alone Medicare Part D plan landscape,” notes Dr. Susan Johnson, Technical Director of the Q1Medicare.com site and co-founder of Q1Group LLC. “We will be updating our PDP-Finder with more coverage details as plan information becomes available and will bring the 2012 Medicare Advantage plan information online shortly.”

About the Q1Medicare.com Website
Q1Medicare.com is one of the largest independent online resources for Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and Medicare Advantage plan information. Q1Medicare offers a large section of Frequently Asked Questions online tools, and a free Medicare Part D Newsletter all designed to help Medicare beneficiaries, healthcare professionals, advocates, advisers, and insurance agents better understand both the Medicare Part D prescription drug and Medicare Advantage programs. Q1Medicare.com is operated by Q1Group LLC (Saint Augustine, Florida).

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Lynnea Christner

Susan Johnson MS-MIS, MBA, PhD
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