Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the average 2013 monthly premium for basic prescription drug coverage is expected to be $30 -- average premiums for 2012 were projected to be $30 and ultimately averaged $29.67.
"Premiums are holding steady and, thanks to the healthcare law, millions of people with Medicare are saving an average of over $600 each year on their prescription drugs," Sebelius said in a statement.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary calculated the projection for the average 2013 premium based on bids submitted by drug and health plans for basic coverage.
The upcoming annual enrollment period -- which begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7 -- allows people on Medicare, their families and their caregivers to choose their prescription drug plans for next year by comparing their current coverage and quality ratings to other plan offerings, Sebelius said.
New benefit choices are effective Jan. 1.