The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday projected that the average basic premium for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan will decrease by $1.09 in 2019 to $32.50. The projection is based on bids submitted by drug and health plans for basic drug coverage for the 2018 benefit year. Although Part D premiums have declined slightly since 2017, federal payments for Part D catastrophic coverage more than tripled between 2010 and 2015. According to a recent analysis by Avalere, the number of Part D beneficiaries who reach the catastrophic coverage phase of the prescription drug benefit due to high out-of-pocket costs rose by more than 50% between 2013 and 2016.