Analysts Predict Rise in Medicare Cost

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Consumer advocates say more than half the state's low-income Medicare recipients may pay more for their drugs because of rising prices.

The Medicare drug program allows low-income recipients to avoid premiums and co-payments if they join drug plans with premiums below a certain price. In Florida, it'll be about $20 per month next year.

But eight of this year's ten qualifying plans in Florida including plans offered by Humana and AARP won't qualify next year because they are raising prices.

The National Senior Citizens Law Center says that about 230,000 recipients in Florida will automatically be switched to qualifying plans.

Another 80,000 will have to switch on their own or choose to pay premiums of up to $10 a month to stay in their current plans.

Advocates say many people don't know their drug plans will go up January 1 and many won't be able to pay the higher prices.

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