Prescription drug costs could be raising by hundreds of dollars next year for seniors. Medicare’s pay plan is changing, which could possibly make senior’s lives more difficult.
What is the New Prescription Plan?
Part D is a drug benefit by Medicare and it’s quite complicated.
The program entails:
- Patients pay a deductible that is 100% of the cost.
- After paying a quarter of the costs catastrophic coverage comes into place.
- Next year, the costs will go up by $400 or more.
Discontent for Seniors
Increasing drug costs are creating unhappiness for voters. The Trump administration has claimed to lower the prices of medications, while Democrats are looking to change the whole health care system.
The dramatic cost increase will make voters question the whole system. The costs will go up by $1,250, going up $400 for brand names and even more for generic name drugs.
What’s Causing These Increases?
Certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act are no longer going to be in place, hence the rising catastrophic coverage threshold.
Medicare Part D covers about 44 million Americans on the federal health program for the elderly and disabled. Administered by private insurers, the program distributes the cost of medications among enrollees, health plans, drugmakers and the government. Low-income people in the program get subsidies to help with costs.
In 2017, 4.9 million people had drug spending and incomes high enough that they either entered the coverage gap or went all the way through it, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Above the catastrophic coverage level, seniors are on the hook for 5% of medication costs, with no upper limit.
What Does this Mean for the Polls?
Various legislative proposals would cap total out-of-pocket costs for the Medicare drug benefit. A bill supported by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would limit seniors’ exposure to $2,000, while a proposal advanced by the Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee would set the limit at $3,200. The Trump administration has also proposed insulating seniors from cost-sharing after they reach the catastrophic threshold.
Whether Congress and the administration can agree on a prescription drug bill before the 2020 election remains an open question. If they don’t, some seniors may realize they’re paying more for their medicine, just as their preparing to go to the polls.
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