Report predicts Medicare drug price hikes

Nov. 2, 2006 at 12:01 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A report by Families USA in Washington, D.C., has suggested that brand-name prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries will rise sharply next year.

The advocacy group said that monthly premiums for plans that provide "meaningful coverage" will spike by 87 percent in 2007 to $103.20, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The report defined a plan as offering "meaningful coverage" if it covered the top 25 drugs prescribed to seniors. The report said that in 2007, 13 states will not offer plans including the drugs, 18 of which are not available in generic form. Currently, only four states do not offer the plans.

"This coverage gap never made sense for seniors, but now it is getting much worse," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.

However, the acting head of the Medicare agency, Leslie Norwalk, criticized the report as presenting "a distorted and incomplete picture."

"The report focuses on a very limited number of drugs used by beneficiaries and does not acknowledge the significant additional savings possible through the use of lower-cost generics and therapeutic substitutes," she said.

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