published Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Premiums inching higher for popular Medicare plans

In this Feb. 20, 2008, file photo, a Medicare shopper walks toward the pharmacy.
In this Feb. 20, 2008, file photo, a Medicare shopper walks toward the pharmacy.
Photo by Associated Press.

RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

WASHINGTON (AP) — Obama administration officials say they have some good election-year news for seniors.

Monthly premiums for popular Medicare Advantage insurance plans are rising by only $1.47 next year, to an average of $32.59.

The private plans often can provide the same services as traditional Medicare for a lower out-of-pocket cost, but seniors have to accept some restrictions on choice.

About 12 million Medicare recipients are in private plans. Enrollment is projected to rise by more than 1 million next year.

The news follows a recent announcement that prescription drug premiums would remain stable for the third year in a row, about $30 a month.

Since the premium numbers are averages, some people may see their costs go up. They can shop for a lower cost plan.

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