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Medicare Part D

CMS Announces Average Medicare Part D Drug Premium Expected to Dip in 2018

Washington, DC, August 4, 2017 — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on August 2 announced that the average basic premium for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2018 is projected to decline to an estimated $33.50 per month.

This represents a decrease of approximately $1.20 below the actual average premium of $34.70 in 2017.

Some 43 million seniors have Medicare “Part D” prescription coverage. Continue reading

Opinion: NJAMHAA Mary Abrams Urges NJ’s Members of Congress to Reject GOP Interference with Medicare Part D

New Brunswick, NJ, July 13, 2017In a Star-Ledger opinion piece published on July 12, Mary Abrams, Senior Health Policy Analyst at the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA), writes:

Congress could soon weaken prescription drug coverage for more than 900,000 New Jersey residents.  Lawmakers want to fundamentally alter Medicare Part D, which has provided seniors and the disabled with affordable medicines for more than a decade.

The program has become a lifeline.  Without Part D, nearly two out of three seniors say that they would be unable to fill all of their prescriptions, while one in two say that they would be more likely to cut back or stop taking their medicines altogether. Continue reading

Study: Mortality Rates for Elderly Have Decreased Every Year Since Creation of Medicare Part D

Washington, DC, July 11, 2017 — Nicole Longo reports that on PhRMA’s blog’s, The Catalyst’s, weekly “Medicare Monday” feature that “we’ve talked about how Medicare Part D’s competitive structure improves access to affordable prescription drug coverage for seniors and individuals with disabilities.”

“We’ve also talked about the positive impact Part D has had on America’s seniors. Today, we’re diving into how Part D has impacted mortality rates for seniors.”

In case you missed it, a recent study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that mortality rates for the elderly have decreased every year since the Part D program was implemented in 2006. Continue reading

PhRMA: New Study Further Confirms Increased Use of Generics After Part D

Washington, DC, April 2, 2017Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has written a lot about how things have changed since 2006 and the implementation of Part D.

PhRMA has looked at how Part D costs less than originally projected, how premiums have remained steady and how competition has worked to keep costs low.

In addition, PhRMA has highlighted what the Medicare Trustees report has shown, that there has been a steady increase year after year in the generic utilization rate for Part D beneficiaries. Continue reading

Study: Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Reduced Elderly Mortality by 2.2 Percent

Champaign, IL, March 15, 2017 — A new paper co-written by a University of Illinois expert in health care economics provides the first evidence that the increase in drug utilization attributable to Medicare Part D saved lives.

The implementation of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit program has reduced elderly mortality by 2.2 percent annually since 2006, according to an analysis by Julian Reif, a professor of finance and of economics at Illinois.

“A big question in health economics is ‘Do public health insurance programs improve people’s health?’” said Reif, also a faculty member of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs and the Center for Business and Public Policy. Continue reading

Report: Drugmakers Take an Average 35 Percent Hit on List Price in Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D 1Washington, DC, October 18, 2016 — Tracy Staton reports in FiercePharma that drugmakers argue that pricing stats are misleading because they don’t account for rebates; like sticker prices on automobiles, they yield far less because of customer discounts.

Now, in a study funded the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), some top pharma number-crunchers find Medicare Part D pays an average of 35 percent less than list price on many commonly used meds.

Unlike Medicaid, where rebates are a set percentage, Medicare rebates and discounts are negotiated by drugmakers and the Part D insurers that cover their products. Continue reading

CMS Releases Prescription Drug Cost Data; Annual Data Release Provides Clearer Look into Medicare Part D Costs

Medicare Part D 1Washington, DC, August 18, 2016 — Continuing the commitment to greater data transparency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) today released privacy-protected data on the prescription drugs that were paid for under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program in 2014.

This is the second release of the data on an annual basis, which shows which prescription drugs were prescribed to Medicare Part D enrollees by physicians and other healthcare professionals.

“With this data release, patients, researchers and providers can access valuable information about the Medicare prescription drug program,” said Niall Brennan, CMS Chief Data Officer.  “Today’s release joins a series of actions the Administration is taking to improve transparency around government data, including the cost of prescription drugs.” Continue reading

Medicare Projects Relatively Stable Average Prescription Drug Premiums in 2017

Medicare Part D 1Washington, DC, August 1, 2016 ― Medicare on Friday announced that the average basic premium for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2017 is projected to remain relatively stable at an estimated $34 per month.

This represents an increase of approximately $1.50 over the actual average premium of $32.56 in 2016.

“Stable Medicare prescription drug plan premiums help seniors and people with disabilities afford their prescription drugs,” said Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  “However, I remain increasingly concerned about the rising cost of drugs, especially high-cost specialty drugs, and the impact of these costs on the Medicare program.” Continue reading

House Ways and Means Chair Won’t Back Trump on Negotiating Medicare Drug Prices

Medicare Part D 1Washington, DC, July 20, 2016 ― Sarah Ferris reports in The Hill that U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) on Tuesday shot down one of Donald Trump’s most high-profile healthcare pitches: allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

When asked at a healthcare panel at the Republican National Convention if he would back Trump’s proposal, Chairman Brady flatly said, “No,” prompting laugher in the room, according to Ferris.

“Study after study shows that that will save no money,” Brady told the panel. Continue reading

HHS Reports People with Medicare Have Saved Over $20 Billion on Prescription Drugs Since 2010; Jerseyans Saved $1 Billion

Baltimore, MD, February 9, 2016 ― The Department of Health and Human Services released yesterday new information that shows that millions of seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare continue to save on prescription drugs and see improved benefits in 2015 as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Nearly 10.7 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $20.8 billion on prescription drugs — an average of $1,945 per beneficiary — since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

According to state-by-state information on discounts, New Jersey senior and people with disabilities received a total discount of $1.04 billion since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading