New Data Spotlights Examine Premiums, Benefit Design and Cost Sharing, and Enhanced Status For 2010 Part D Medicare Drug Plans
Friday December 18th, 2009
Kaiser Family Foundation
As the Dec. 31 end of Medicare beneficiaries’ open enrollment period for choosing a 2010 drug plan approaches, three new Medicare Part D 2010 Data Spotlights from the Kaiser Family Foundation reveal how the cost and benefits of such plans have changed over time – in ways that will leave most beneficiaries paying more if they remain in their current Part D plan.

  • Premiums. The analysis reveals that if beneficiaries remain in their current drug plans for 2010, they will pay, on average, 11 percent more each month in premiums than they did in 2009.  There is also wide variation in the cost of Part D plans both within and across regions – with some plan sponsors charging more than twice as much for the same plan in some states compared to others. 
  • Benefit design and cost sharing.  Plans also are raising beneficiaries’ share of the cost for individual drugs.  Between 2006 and 2010, median cost sharing for a 30-day supply of drugs is up 50 percent for preferred brand-name drugs; nearly 40 percent for non-preferred brand-name drugs; and 40 percent for generic drugs.  While most plans still charge flat-dollar copayments for drugs, a growing share of plans require enrollees to pay a percentage of the drug’s cost through coinsurance – a shift that typically increases costs for enrollees.
  • Basic and enhanced plans.  Plan sponsors can offer both “basic” Part D plans and “enhanced” plans.  Enhanced plans are required to provide more generous coverage than basic plans, such as providing some coverage in the “doughnut hole,” or coverage gap.  However, the analysis finds that enhanced plans also often charge higher cost-sharing amounts than basic plans. 

The three new Medicare Part D 2010 Data Spotlights are part of a series that also includes ones examining the coverage gap and providing an overview of the 2010 plan offerings.  The series is authored by a team of researchers at Georgetown University, NORC and the Kaiser Family Foundation and is available online at

For additional information, please contact:

Craig Palosky at or

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