Dramatic price changes in privately-run Medicare drug plans: A strong argument for a public plan option in health reform

A new analysis from Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, shows that many Medicare Part D prescription drug plans – which are administered solely by private insurance companies –significantly increase the prices they charge customers each year. Looking at five large states, for a package of five commonly used drugs, the best-priced drug plan in January 2006 is among the worst deals for seniors today. In addition, over the last three and a half years, about a third of the plans dropped out or changed ownership, contributing to consumer confusion.