President Joe Biden will highlight Medicare changes that could result in seniors saving $70 a year on vaccines as part of his ongoing efforts to reduce healthcare costs. Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries may pay less for medicines administered at their doctor’s office for 27 drugs whose prices have outpaced inflation.
New and Improved
The changes to Medicare and the prescription drug prices are part of a large bill that passed last year, which was designed to address health costs, invest in clean energy, and raise taxes on corporations. President Biden will discuss the savings on Medicare prescription drugs at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, where he is expected to promote his legislative accomplishments throughout the year.
The US government will also choose ten drugs for negotiations with manufacturers, with the announcement of the selected drugs scheduled for September. These negotiations are part of an effort to secure lower competitive prescription drug prices, and will take on powerful interests that contribute to high healthcare costs.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra noted that the administration is now able to begin the historic process of negotiating prices to bring down healthcare costs. This move will give Americans the opportunity to sleep better at night, as the cost of healthcare will not be as much of a burden.
Inflation Reduction Act
Democrats have achieved one of their biggest victories with the Inflation Reduction Act, which mandates Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost drugs. The federal agency will announce the first ten drugs for negotiation in September, but price changes won't begin until 2026. President Biden wants to expand negotiations to more drugs and increase rebates to extend Medicare's solvency without reducing benefits, but Republicans have opposed his plan.
People with Medicare prescription drug coverage can now receive recommended vaccines such as Tdap and shingles for free, effective since January. The Department of Health and Human Services reported that if this provision had been in place in 2021, 3.4 million Medicare beneficiaries would have saved an average of $70 each.
The administration anticipates that the actual number of people who will benefit from this provision will be even greater than 3.4 million since more beneficiaries may choose to get vaccinated now that there are no out-of-pocket costs.
Take That, Big Pharma
Starting this year, pharmaceutical companies that raise prices beyond inflation levels are obligated to pay rebates to Medicare. The Biden administration announced that this provision applies to 27 physician-administered drugs, resulting in reduced costs for some Medicare beneficiaries starting next month.
Depending on their supplemental coverage, as well as the amount and frequency of medicine they need, seniors may experience savings ranging from $2 to $390 per average dose. The administration believes that this provision also protects seniors from significant out-of-pocket expenses by encouraging drug makers to keep prices low to avoid paying rebates.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.