Among Top Plans, Community CCRx Only PDP to Decrease Premiums in ’10

There’s new evidence that health insurance plans don’t need to resort to mail order mandates in order to keep premiums under control. Avalere Health recently reported that, while 9 of the top 10 Medicare Part D plans increased premiums in 2010, the other – Community CCRx’s Basic plan – actually reduced premiums slightly.

As Bruce Roberts noted previously, Community CCRx prescription drug plans eschew the mail-order emphasis in favor of a community pharmacy approach. (Patients who opt for home delivery rely on any one of the in-network independent pharmacies.)

The report, featured in Kaiser Health News, found that the 10 insurers with the largest numbers of Medicare Part D members raised premiums an average of 10 percent this year to $34.30. The largest increase was 42 percent. In contrast, Community CCRx Basic’s average premium decreased by 2 percent to $28.86, making it the only top 10 PDP to lower its premium.

The top 10 plans insure 70 percent of all people enrolled in Part D plans, according to the report, which is based on CMS enrollment data.
The Avalere study also found that the average monthly premiums across all PDPs increased by more than 40 percent since the inception of the prescription drug program. By contrast, Community CCRx Basic has a lower average premium in 2010 than in 2006, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study published earlier this year.

Premiums are calculated as part of the annual bidding process that the government uses to administer the Medicare Part D program. To find out more about how the bidding process works, view NCPA’s online tutorial (free registration required).

View Avalere Health report (free registration required).

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