Medicare Drug Premiums Will Be Higher Next Year

WASHINGTON (July 30, 2013)--The average monthly premium for Medicare prescription drug plans will rise by $1 next year, to $31, the Obama administration said Tuesday.

The increase comes after three stable years in which the average premium hovered around $30 a month.

The modest increase means competition among insurers is holding down costs, even as benefits have improved for seniors with high prescription bills, Medicare officials said.

But the average isn't the full story.

For example, last year seven of the top 10 plans raised their 2013 premiums by double-digit percentages.

Shopping around helped seniors keep the average premium paid from going up.

Consumer advocates say beneficiaries should check their plans during open enrollment, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 and should look for better deals if they're not satisfied.

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