Thanks to President Biden and Democrats, Seniors Will Save Big on Their Medicare Coverage
Over the weekend, President Biden hit the West Coast to celebrate new savings as seniors begin to shop for Medicare plans during open enrollment. The events come as the administration begins rolling out a new policy that allows patients to purchase hearing aids over the counter. Starting next year, seniors will get more for less — with many saving thousands of dollars a year on health care.
As Medicare beneficiaries review plans, they will see lower premiums and brand new benefits thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act’s measures to drive down drug costs. This new legislation ensures that no Medicare beneficiary will pay more than $2,000 a year for prescription drugs, and insulin costs will be capped at $35 per month. Additionally, in the years ahead, Medicare beneficiaries will see lower drug prices across the board thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions to give Medicare the power to negotiate and stop Big Pharma’s price hikes on medications.
Last week, President Biden also announced a new executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to explore new actions it can take to lower prescription drug costs for middle-class families.
President Biden Celebrates Lower Drug Prices for Seniors
The New York Times: Biden Goes Out West on a Three State Tour Promoting Lowering Drug Prices. “President Biden on Friday tried to reassure Americans stung by high inflation that his administration was working to keep health care costs down, promising a community college audience in Southern California that he was committed to doing even more. Mr. Biden argued that Republicans would drive prices higher if they gained power. He noted their opposition to his efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which he said would force prices down for medication for millions of seniors. And he said Democrats had pushed through price caps on critical drugs like insulin. ‘If Republicans in Congress have their way, it’s going to mean the power we just gave Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices and other costs over time goes away — gone,’ Mr. Biden said, standing in front of signs that said ‘Lowering Costs for American Families.’ ‘Two-thousand-dollar cap on prescription drugs goes away — gone. The $35 month cap on insulin for Medicare is gone.’” [The New York Times, 10/14/22]
The Oregonian: In Portland, President Biden Highlights Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act Fighting Big Pharma. “President Joe Biden touted Democrats as American families’ champion against Big Pharma on Saturday at the East Portland Community Center. Biden spoke about how the Inflation Reduction Act will lower drug costs for seniors on the first day of open enrollment for Medicare. The bill Biden signed in August seeks to lower energy and healthcare costs for families who have been hit by the most rapid consumer price increases in four decades. The president sang the praises of Oregon’s senior U.S. senator, Ron Wyden, who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee and has been an ongoing champion of curtailing pharmaceutical companies. The president highlighted some key provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act that will begin next year, including capping insulin copays at $35 and requiring drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they raise prices faster than inflation.” [The Oregonian, 10/14/22]
Los Angeles Times: President Biden and Representative Porter Rail Against Big Pharma. “President Biden and Rep. Katie Porter sought to focus voters’ attention on Democrats’ work to lower the cost of prescription drugs during an event in Orange County on Friday afternoon. Porter, the first Democrat ever to represent her district, has been an effective fundraiser as she seeks a third term, having boosted her national profile with several performances in committee hearings that went viral, including some in which she blasts pharmaceutical executives for price gouging. Biden praised Porter for her toughness and credited her with helping pass the Inflation Reduction Act. Biden has been eager to emphasize all that he and Democrats have accomplished legislatively since he took office less than two years ago: a massive pandemic relief package; bipartisan laws to overhaul infrastructure, boost American microchip manufacturing and improve healthcare for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals on the battlefield; and the Inflation Reduction Act.” [Los Angeles Times, 10/14/22]
Medicare Recipients Will Pay Less Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act
Fox 28 Spokane: Open Enrollment For Medicare Underway, New Adjustments To Plans And Website. “The Biden-Harris Administration has made expanding access to health insurance and lowering health care costs for America’s families a top priority. Just last month the Biden-Harris Administration announced that people with Medicare will see lower average premiums for Medicare Part B, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in 2023. “This year, more than ever, it is vital that people with Medicare review and compare their options to find the coverage that best meets their needs,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.” [Fox 28 Spokane, 10/15/22]
Bloomberg Law: Medicare Open Enrollment For 2023 Begins Oct. 15, HHS Says. The Biden-Harris Administration said Friday that Medicare open enrollment for 2023 begins Oct. 15 and will remain open through Dec. 7… Medicare beneficiaries can review their coverage, including drug and health plan options, on Medicare.gov. The Biden Administration has made expanding access to health insurance and lowering health care costs for America’s families a top priority, HHS said. President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law in August, which provided Medicare enrollees with lower costs for insulin and vaccines beginning in 2023, HHS said.” [Bloomberg Law, 10/14/22]
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Medicare Open Enrollment Started On Oct. 15. Here’s What’s New For 2023. “Lower premiums, insulin price caps, free shingles vaccines: There are some noteworthy changes to Medicare for 2023, and the annual open enrollment period is a good time to check them out. Even if you’re content with your coverage, Medicare’s annual open enrollment — Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 — is an opportunity to take stock of your health needs and make sure you’re enrolled in a plan that is the best fit. Whether you have original Medicare with a drug plan or Medicare Advantage, plan details change every year. And your health needs may be different now than they were a year ago.” [The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/14/22]
Patients Can Now Purchase Hearing Aids Over the Counter
CNN: A ‘Game-Changer’ For Millions Of Americans: You Can Now Buy Hearing Aids Over The Counter. “This means that there could be a lot more people out there that have untreated hearing loss that could finally have access to these sorts of hearing aids. People have been talking about trying to cover dental and vision and hearing for a long time. Dental and vision are still out there, but hearing loss is something that people have focused on because it is so untreated.” [CNN, 10/17/22]
The Hill: White House Marks Rollout Of Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids At Retailers Nationwide. “The White House on Monday marked the rollout of hearing aids sold at retailers like Walgreens, CVS and Walmart following steps from the Biden administration to allow them to be sold over the counter. On Monday, Walgreens started selling hearing aids in stores and online for $799 a pair, CVS started selling them online at different price points and Walmart started selling them at more than 1,000 Vision Centers in the retailer’s stores and 474 Sam’s Club locations, ranging from $199 to $999 per pair.” [The Hill, 10/17/22]
Reuters: Lower-Cost US Hearing Aids Go On Sale Today. “Major U.S. retailers will begin selling lower-cost hearing aids without a prescription or medical exam under final Biden administration rules that take effect Monday. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August approved the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids, allowing millions of Americans to buy hearing aids without seeing an audiologist and potentially saving individuals thousands of dollars. The rules apply to hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The aids will be available directly from stores or online without medical exams, a prescription or audiologist fitting adjustment.” [Reuters, 10/17/22]
President Biden Signs Drug Pricing Executive Order to Lower Costs for Families
Politico: Biden Pushes HHS To Do More On Drug Pricing. “President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order asking HHS to explore new ways to lower drug costs, according to the White House. HHS will use its Innovation Center, created under the Affordable Care Act, to work toward lower drug prices. The White House highlighted the center’s authority to try new ways of paying for Medicare services. The agency will have 90 days to report its plans to use the center for lowering drug prices.” [Politico, 10/14/22]
Fierce Healthcare: New Biden Order Wants CMMI To Test Payment Models That Tackle High Drug Prices. “President Biden is calling for new payment and delivery models that will lower drug prices in a new executive order. The order released Friday calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to craft a report outlining the payment models that will test how to improve access to innovative drugs and lower costs for those in Medicare and Medicaid. While the order doesn’t grant any new authorities to HHS, it underscores the administration’s next steps in lowering drug prices.” [Fierce Healthcare, 10/14/22]
Endpoints News: President Biden Offers Another Push On Drug Price Savings Via Executive Order. “Building off his recently-signed legislation allowing Medicare to start negotiating prices in some limited circumstances for the most expensive pharmaceuticals, President Joe Biden today will sign an Executive Order directing HHS to consider what more it can do to drive down prescription drug costs. Under the order, HHS will have three months to submit a formal report outlining how to use its “Innovation Center,” created by Obamacare, and other existing authorities to lower drug costs and promote access to innovative drugs for Medicare beneficiaries.” [Endpoints News, 10/14/22]