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Published: Friday, 8/15/2008

Medicare premiums for prescription drugs rising


WASHINGTON - The typical Medicare beneficiary can expect to see about a $3 increase in their monthly premiums for prescription drug coverage in 2009, federal officials said yesterday.

Officials made the projection based on bids from private insurers that get the premiums along with a federal subsidy to administer the benefit. The increase of 12 percent will up the monthly premium to $28 for standard drug coverage.

Medicare officials cited several factors in the increase. Primarily, people are using more prescriptions, plus the costs of many of those drugs are going up.

Despite the increase, Medicare officials said the monthly premiums are still below what was projected when the program was approved in 2003. Then, projections were for premiums next year to come in at $44.

Overall, about 17.4 million people have enrolled in plans that just offer drug coverage.

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