Q1Medicare.com Provides More Information on How 2013 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans Will Impact Seniors

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Q1Medicare.com now provides seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries with additional information on the upcoming 2013 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan year. According to recently released figures, Medicare plan members can expect only slightly higher monthly Medicare Part D plan premiums in 2013. In addition, Medicare Part D beneficiaries assessed with a late-enrollment premium penalty will notice a slight increase in their 2013 penalty payments. Medicare beneficiaries in the higher income brackets can also expect a slightly higher 2013 Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Even with only small increases projected in the 2013 Medicare Part D premiums, seniors should be prepared to re-evaluate their Medicare prescription drug plan coverage during the upcoming annual Open Enrollment Period.

Seniors are reminded that the slightly higher 2013 base monthly premium figure does not necessarily mean that their current Medicare Part D plan premium will remain the same or be increased next year.

Q1Medicare.com now provides seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries with additional insights into their upcoming 2013 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan coverage. In general, Medicare plan members can expect to see slight increases in monthly plan premiums and people assessed with a late-enrollment premium penalty will also notice a slightly higher penalty payment. In addition, Medicare beneficiaries in the higher income brackets can expect a slight increase in their 2013 Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (or IRMAA).

Based on information recently released from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), seniors can expect to pay slightly higher monthly Medicare Part D plan premiums in 2013. The 2013 Part D base beneficiary premium is $31.17 as compared to a base premium of $31.08 in 2012.

“Seniors are reminded that the slightly higher 2013 base monthly premium figure does not necessarily mean that their current Medicare Part D plan premium will remain the same or be increased next year,” notes Dr. Susan Johnson, Technical Director of the Q1Medicare.com site and co-founder of Q1Group LLC. “Rather, the recently released 2013 base premium only suggests that seniors will be able to shop around and find a 2013 Medicare prescription drug plan with about the same monthly premium as they are currently paying.”

Because of the slight increase in the Medicare Part D base premium, Medicare beneficiaries who have accrued a late-enrollment penalty (or LEP) will notice that their 2013 monthly penalty payment will be slightly higher. The late-enrollment premium penalty is assessed to any Medicare beneficiary who is without some form of creditable prescription coverage for more than 63 days and does not qualify for the low-income subsidy. The penalty is calculated as an additional monthly payment of 1% of the annual base Medicare Part D premium accumulated for each month that a person is without prescription coverage. For example, a person who has been without creditable prescription coverage for five years (or 60 months) will pay a 2013 monthly penalty of $18.70 or 60% of the 2013 base premium of $31.17. Annual changes in the base premium used to calculate the late-enrollment penalty can be found at: Q1Medicare.com/LEP.

Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries in the higher income brackets will see a slight increase in their 2013 plan premiums. For example, the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (or IRMAA) for singles with an income between $160,000 and $214,000 or married couples with an income between $320,000 and $428,000 will be $48.30 per month in 2013, up from $48.10 per month in 2012. More information on the 2013 IRMAA payments can be found at: Q1Medicare.com/IRMAA2013.

Along with the base beneficiary premium, CMS also released the low-income subsidy (LIS) benchmark premiums for the 34 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan regions. Each of the 34 stand-alone prescription drug plan regions sets an annual premium benchmark and drug plans with premiums under this benchmark qualify for the LIS (or Extra Help) $0 monthly premium. For the 2013 plan year, 24 regions increased and 10 regions decreased their benchmark premiums. A complete list of the 2013 LIS premium benchmark amounts with a comparison to past years can be found at: Q1Medicare.com/LISBenchmark.

The 2013 annual Open Enrollment Period will begin on Monday, October 15, 2012 and continue through Friday, December 7, 2012 with Medicare plan coverage beginning on Tuesday, January 1, 2013. The details of the 2013 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans should be available in late-September or early-October and Q1Medicare.com now offers a free eMail 2013 reminder service to keep Medicare beneficiaries informed as the 2013 Medicare plan information becomes available. The reminder services can found directly at Q1Medicare.com/RemindMe.

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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