I signed up for Medicare last month. In addition to standard Medicare, I added Part D, the prescription drug benefit. My 2013 costs, if they had covered the entire year, would have come to $529 for insurance and $330 for prescription copays.
Today's mail brought the rates for 2014. The insurance premium has increased to $650, or by about 23 percent. Copays have also increased, to $616, or by nearly 87 percent. The total increase — assuming I won't need any additional medications — comes to 47 percent.
I was not happy when President Bush proposed and AARP supported Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit. The idea of insuring seniors' drugs was good. The resulting law, which specifically forbids the federal government from negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies, was insane.