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Medicare 2011 Drug Plan Rates: You Must Compare

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Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D

Over the past several weeks there has been a lot of news about what seniors should expect to pay for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in 2011

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says expect an average drop in Part D rates of about 1%. and a 50% discount on brand name drugs if you are in the "donut hole" and paying for the full costs of your prescriptions.
  • A Washington D.C. health research firm says many seniors will see big increases in Part D rates because their plans have been cancelled and their new plans will cost more. Read the Washington Post article here.

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Medicare Donut Hole Break in 2011

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Tags: Medicare Part D

If you are have Medicare Part D insurance and find yourself in the dreaded "Medicare donut hole" each year because of high prescription drug costs, there's some good news in 2011.

Starting in 2011, those with Medicare prescription drug coverage (through Part D or a Medicare Advantage plan) will receive a 50% discount on covered brand-name drugs they need while in the donut hole. That's important because during the donut hole period you are paying the full costs of your prescription drugs. For 2011 the donut hole begins when your drug costs reach $2840 and ends when your out-of-pocket costs total $4550. If you are part of a retiree prescription drug plan or are eligible for the low-income subsidy, these discounts do not apply.

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Medicare Advantage Rates Stable, Still Need to Shop

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Tags: Medicare, Medicare Advantage

Good news for people who use Medicare Advantage plans. Plan prices will change little for 2011, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. On average premiums will be about 1 percent lower.

Good news for many who feared that changes might lead to higher prices or reduced choices. Not for 2011; plan prices are similar to 2010 and some new benefits as preventative benefits were added to Medicare (flu shots, smoking cessation classes, etc.). Part D Prescription Drug plan rates are also expected to change little from 2010.

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Another Sign of Delayed Retirement

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One child in ten in the U.S. lives with a grandparent, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. That's 2.9 million children. A high percentage is also primary caregivers to their grandchildren. The recession has clearly fueled the increase which has been slowly on the rise over the past decade.

These grandparents are also young - 67% under the age of 60. And, unfortunately, many are living near the poverty line as they struggle to take care of their grandchildren.

 

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New No cost Benefits From Medicare

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Tags: Medicare

Two cost-free benefits for Medicare recipients aimed at helping them stay healthier were recently announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Flu shots: Medicare and health plans will be offerings flu shots without co-pays or deductibles this year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Doctors highly recommend flu shots for all (except those with allergies or certain health conditiions). No word yet on what flu strains we can expect to see this year, but officials say there should be enough vaccine. For those over 65, there is a new high-potency vaccine available to see if it offers better protections for those with aging immune systems.

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