CBO: House reform bill could increase drug benefit premiums 20 percent

The Hill (9/1, Alarkon) reports, “The House health bill would raise insurance premiums for seniors but save money for those who spend more on drugs, a CBO study found.” CBO director Douglas Elmendorf “said Medicare recipients would pay less out of pocket for prescriptions under the legislation. But for those who do not spend as much annually on drugs, the changes could result in higher insurance premiums without any added benefits.” The House bill “would increase drug insurance coverage under the Medicare Part D drug program by closing the ‘doughnut hole.’ … While the proposed changes would lead to lower drug costs for some Medicare beneficiaries, the push to increase coverage would increase costs for drug and insurance companies, resulting in higher drug benefit premiums for seniors. The average premium would increase by approximately 5 percent in 2011 and by 20 percent over the next decade.”

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