- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration says the average monthly premium for Medicare prescription drug coverage is expected to go down in 2018, the first time that’s happened in five years.

Medicare announced Wednesday that next year’s average premium is expected to be $33.50 per month, about $1.20 less than this year, or a 3 percent dip. Some 43 million seniors have Medicare “Part D” prescription coverage.

The average is just that, a benchmark number that doesn’t necessarily reflect what individual consumers will experience. It’s a yardstick the government uses to measure trends.

The consulting firm Avalere Health says the decline is driven by lower expected costs for most beneficiaries, and slightly lower costs for those with very high prescription drug spending. Rising spending on high-cost drugs had driven recent premium increases.

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