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Medicare Part B monthly premium, deductible prices decrease

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Standard monthly premiums under Medicare Part B will be $99.90 in 2012, $6.70 under the projected figure made by the Department of Health and Human Services, HHS announced Thursday.

This year’s Medicare Part B premium is a $15.50 decrease over the standard 2011 premium of $115.40 paid by new enrollees and higher income Medicare beneficiaries and by Medicaid on behalf of low-income enrollees, HHS said. Additionally, the Medicare Part B deductible will be $140, a decrease of $22 from 2011.

“The Affordable Care Act is helping to keep Medicare strong and affordable,” HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “People with Medicare are seeing higher quality benefits, better healthcare choices, and lower costs. Health reform is also strengthening the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and cracking down on Medicare fraud.”


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GPhA shows support for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Saturday is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and the country’s largest lobbying group representing the generic drug industry is expressing its support.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association said its support for the program was part of a commitment to work with such stakeholders as doctors, parents, law enforcement, lawmakers and industry to try and stop diversion of prescription drugs in the United States. According to the 2009 National Study of Drug Use and Health, the problem of prescription drug abuse primarily stems from drugs that are legally prescribed and available in the home.

"With recent studies showing that as many as 70% of people abusing prescription drugs were doing so with products they obtained from a friend or relative, it is imperative that we act now to ensure that these medications are not falling into the wrong hands," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "The DEA’s National Prescription Take-Back Day is an excellent example of the multi-stakeholder collaboration that is needed to tackle this problem."

The DEA program will involve nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies and will collect expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The first two National Prescription Take Back Days collected more than 309 tons of pills, according to the GPhA.

 


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Daily rate for Redbox DVD rentals to increase

BY Allison Cerra

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Shoppers that take advantage of Redbox rentals should expect to see a change in price.

Redbox’s parent company Coinstar on Thursday said that the daily rate for standard DVD rentals will increase 20 cents to $1.20. Prices for Blu-ray format movie rentals and for video game rentals, however, will not change and continue to be $1.50 and $2, respectively.

"We remain committed to providing redbox consumers access to the latest movies at an incredible value," Coinstar CEO Paul Davis said. "This marks the first price increase for a Redbox standard definition DVD rental in eight years. The change is primarily due to the increase in operating expenses, including the recent increase in debit card interchange fees as a result of the Durbin Amendment."

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