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Medicare Advantage Plan Premium Plan Members Face Rate Hikes

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Millions of older Americans face large increases in their premiums for private health plans through Medicare, says a study to be released Friday by the data analysis firm Avalere Health.

It says premiums for Medicare Advantage plans that offer medical and prescription drug coverage rose an average of 14.2 percent in 2010, compared with 5.2 percent rise in 2009, the Associated Press reported.

About 8.5 million elderly and disabled people are enrolled in the plans.

"These premium increases fit within a broader trend of increased financial pressure on the insured," said Lindsey Spindle, a vice president of Avalere Health, the AP reported. "We see very large premium increases and a continued upward creep in how much out-of-pocket expenses beneficiaries are expected to pay, such as copayments."

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