Base Premiums for Medicare Part D Will Drop Slightly in 2018
Medicare projects 2018 base premiums for its Part D drug benefit will be 61 cents cheaper than this year, despite the rising cost of drugs, particularly specialty drugs. It is the first decrease in five years. The base premium will drop from $35.63 to $35.02 as of Jan. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced last week. The agency also calculated the average basic premium in 2018. This methodology, unlike that used for the base premiums, includes all plan types, adding in special needs plans and private fee-for-service plans, that are left out of the base premium calculation. It’s weighted by projected enrollment and accounts for the likelihood that a portion of enrollees will switch to lower cost plans. The result for this calculation was even more impressive. The average basic monthly premium is projected to drop by an estimated $1.20, from $34.70 in 2017 to $33.50 in 2018.