NU Online News Service, July 2, 3:58 p.m. – Medicare beneficiaries will still have to pay about 70% of the cost of their prescription drugs if the Medicare drug plan recently approved by the U.S. House of Representatives takes effect, according to an expert at Emory University, Atlanta.

If Congress and President Bush approve the plan, it could begin providing prescription coverage for Medicare beneficiaries as early as 2005.

But Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy researcher at Emory, predicts that 12 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the plan would have to pay an average of $2,200 per year for prescription drugs, and 6.8 million would have to pay the House “catastrophic limit” of $3,700 per year.

Some retirees might be surprised if they understood how big the out-of-pocket costs would still be, Thorpe says.