Medicare predicts average premium to jump $3 next year

WASHINGTON Medicare officials announced Monday that the average premium for basic coverage will increase to $25 from about $22 this year, the Associated Press reported.

Overall, the monthly premium is still much lower than the $41 that was anticipated when the drug benefit was established, pointed out Herb Kuhn, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Officials suggested that seniors could still comparison shop to keep their costs below average.

The CMS said that the increase stems primarily from required adjustments, not an increase in insurance costs. Kuhn credited the availability of generic drugs—and competition among insurance carriers—as a reason the cost is still lower than anticipated.

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