3 million seniors may have to switch drug plans this year


Medicare is about to cut back on its number of drug plans, and a new report from Avalere Health suggests the change could force more than 3 million seniors to make a potentially disruptive plan change starting in October.

Others, among them AARP, suggest the changes are more likely to ease seniors' confusion than cause it. They say the range of current Part D choices is just way too confusing, presenting seniors with way too many lookalike plans to assess.

The changes are coming in Medicare's prescription drug coverage. Each year from October through December, seniors in the Medicare program pick from various plans offering prescription drug coverage. Currently, depending on the state, there are from 41 to 55 plans for seniors to chose from, with prices running from zero (for low-income seniors) to $40 a month, depending on the exact benefits offered. The plans offering brand name drug coverage generally cost more.