OIG Audit Raises Concerns About Medicare Part D Plans

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , March 8, 2011

The industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans sees it this way: The Part D program is highly competitive so plans have an incentive to offer the lowest bids and, therefore, the most affordable premiums to attract beneficiaries. As a result, AHIP spokesperson Robert Zirkelbach explains, overall cost of the Part D program is far below original projections – saving money for seniors and taxpayers. According to CMS, the average Part D premium in 2011 is about $30, only a $1 increase from 2010 and well below estimates when the Part D program was enacted.

It is also important to keep in mind, Zirkelbach says, that Part D bids are based on projections of future costs, which are inherently uncertain. As the report notes, he continues, Part D plans reconcile rebates estimated in their bids with the amounts actually collected from pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure the taxpayer continues to share in any additional savings the plan may be able to generate.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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