Important Medicare Changes for 2015: What You Need to Know

Millions of seniors are going to have to dig deeper to pay for their Medicare benefits next year, thanks to rising costs for healthcare and medication.

AARP is warning members that nearly 10 million seniors with Medicare Part D drug policies could face rising prescription premium costs in 2015. Those enrolled in six of the 10 largest drug plans could face hikes ranging from 11 percent to 52 percent, if they don’t switch to different, less costly alternatives.

Another 3.5 million members enrolled in three other large plans will see premiums drop by 13 percent to 31 percent when the new policies kick in, Jan. 1.

The projections β€” from Avalere Health, which tracks healthcare trends β€” are a critical reminder that Medicare’s private plans can change their costs and benefits every year to reflect rising costs of medical care, driven in part by healthcare reform changes under Obamacare.

Open enrollment for Medicare continues through Dec. 7, giving Medicare beneficiaries the chance to compare and contrast dozens of private drug plans offered through Part D for next year.

Experts advise seniors not to simply β€œre up,” and keep their current Medicare Advantage HMOs, PPOs, and Part D plans without checking to see if coverage levels, premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and doctor and hospital networks are still appropriate.