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43 prescription drugs may soon cost less for some Medicare recipients

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare Part B recipients may pay less for some drugs in the coming months.
43 prescription drugs may soon cost less for some Medicare recipients
Posted at 8:05 PM, Jun 09, 2023

Some Medicare recipients may soon pay less for their prescription drugs.

On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Service announced 43 prescription drugs may have lower copays for Medicare Part B beneficiaries between July and September.

This could save Medicare recipients who take the drugs, listed here, between $1 and $449 per average dose.

It's part of the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to lower prescription drug prices if their prices rise faster than inflation. These 43 drugs had prices that did rise faster than the rate of inflation in a benchmark quarter.

Although the price adjustment only applies from July 1 to Sept. 30, inflation rates could cause the list to grow, shrink or stay the same beyond that period. 

"With the inflation rebate program, we are fighting to ensure seniors can afford the treatments they need, taxpayers aren't subsidizing drug company excess prices and the Medicare program is strong for millions of beneficiaries now and in the future," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in an earlier statement.

The law requires manufacturers of qualifying drugs to pay rebates to Medicare if a drug's price increase exceeds the inflation rate. However, the manufacturers who owe the rebates to Medicare this year and next won't receive their first invoices until 2025.

Starting in 2026, the law will also allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for certain prescription drugs. Part B recipients will be able to start negotiations then for prices effective in 2028.

These policies will help many Medicare Part B beneficiaries whose spending on drugs has grown in recent years. 

Along with the announcement Friday, the HHS released a report that found Medicare Part B had the fastest rate of spending growth for drugs in the program between 2008 to 2021. Per enrollee, it found drug spending grew on average 9.2% annually.

SEE MORE: Life-saving drugs cost thousands in the US. Can laws change that?

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