Average Medicare Part D Premiums Inch Lower but Drug Affordability Still a Problem

Julie CarterMedicare Watch0 Comments

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This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—the agency that oversees the Medicare program—announced that premiums for Medicare Part D, an optional benefit that provides prescription drug coverage, will be slightly lower for 2019. The average 2018 premium for basic coverage is $33.59, and the projected average for 2019 will be $32.50. CMS suggests that increased competition and changes in cost sharing are the main reasons for the reduction. However, the drop may more likely reflect changes that Congress made earlier this year that shifted some of the costs for medications in the “donut hole”—a coverage gap in the program where costs for beneficiaries historically increased sharply—away from drug plans and onto manufacturers. Read More...

Trump Administration Drug Pricing Proposals May Actually Raise Out-of-Pocket Costs for People with Medicare

Julie CarterMedicare Watch0 Comments

Last week, the Medicare Rights Center submitted comments on a Request for Information (RFI) from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This RFI asked for feedback on a host of potential changes that touted as ways to lower prescription drug costs for people with Medicare and Medicaid. In May, the Trump Administration released a “blueprint” of various proposals in an attempt to bring down drug costs. Medicare Rights supports efforts to make prescription drugs more affordable. Many people with Medicare struggle to afford their medications, and Medicare affordability is one of the top issues on our national helpline every year. Something must be done to ensure the millions of people with Medicare have access to needed prescriptions. Read More...

CMS Invites Additional Comments on Contested Medicaid Work Requirements

Casey SchwarzMedicare Watch0 Comments

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After a Federal Judge invalidated the previously approved plan by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) to require very low income parents and caregivers to show that they are working or engaged in other activities in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage in Kentucky, CMS re-released the rule and another one governing Mississippi for additional comments. Read More...

Medicare Rights Center Offers Beneficiary Perspective on Proposed Changes to Medicare Part D

Lindsey CopelandMedicare Watch0 Comments

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Today, Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, participated in a Capitol Hill briefing on Tackling Prescription Drug Prices: An Examination of Proposed Medicare Part D Reforms. Hosted by the National Coalition on Health Care, the goal of this educational briefing was to shed light on proposed reforms to Medicare Part D, identify the trade-offs involved, and explore the impacts on Medicare beneficiaries. Read More...