The final Inflation Reduction Act theme week focuses on how the historic legislation will help Americans with serious diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Over the next few years, the Inflation Reduction Act will drastically reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Americans enrolled in Medicare’s Part D drug benefit by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, preventing drug companies from raising prices faster than the rate of inflation, and capping out-of-pocket spending on drugs to $2,000 a year. This bill also extends enhanced American Care Act subsidies to allow more Americans to afford coverage, reducing racial, income, and geographic disparities in health care and saving lives. Organizations representing Americans with MS have pushed for the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act as it has direct financial impacts making prescription drugs and health insurance more affordable.
By The Numbers:
- Premium tax credits extended in the Inflation Reduction Act will allow 13 million people with pre-existing conditions, including MS, to save money on their insurance
- According to a 2017 study, medicines for MS cost an average $70,000 per year, roughly $4,000 out-of-pocket.
- 40 percent of people suffering from MS altered or stopped taking medication due to cost.
- There are nearly 1 million people in the United States living with MS.
The Inflation Reduction Act Lowers Health Care Costs
Capping Out-Of-Pocket Spending On Prescription Drugs Relieves Financial Stressors For Americans With MS. Medicare beneficiaries with serious conditions like multiple sclerosis, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis could save thousands of dollars under the Inflation Reduction Act. In 2025, out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs will be capped at $2,000 per year for medications covered by Medicare Part D; directly lowering costs for the more than 1.4 million enrollees who paid more than $2,000 on medication in 2020. A quarter of American adults have not filled a prescription, cutting pills in half, or skipped doses due to the cost of medication. Americans with MS pay over $300 a month for their prescriptions.
Extending Premium Subsidies Saves Lives. The Inflation Reduction Act extends enhanced premium subsidies through the end of 2025. Right now, nearly 13 million people, or 89 percent with an ACA plan, are receiving enhanced premium tax credits, making their coverage affordable and accessible. After two years of these subsidies, the Department of Health and Human Services released an analysis showing that just 8 percent of Americans lacked health insurance at the beginning of 2022 — an all-time low for the nation. Extending premium subsidies will allow more Americans who have MS to detect MS earlier and afford and access proper treatment.
Gives Medicare The Power To Negotiate Lower Drug Prices. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare will be empowered to negotiate prices for select drugs for Medicare Part D’s 49 million beneficiaries. Beginning in 2026, 10 drugs will be negotiated with that number increasing to 15 drugs in 2027, and 20 drugs in 2029 and into the future. By 2030, more than 80 drugs will be eligible for Medicare price negotiation, in addition to insulin products. MS patients will directly feel the effects of drug price negotiation with more than 25 percent of patients with MS being on Medicare.
Inflation Reduction Act Will Help Minority Communities With Multiple Sclerosis. MS has been believed to be most prevalent among white women that are between ages 20 to 50. Recent research has shown that African Americans suffer more from the disease than previously thought. Studies from 2013 and 2020 show that Black women suffer from the highest rates of MS. MS also tends to have a more aggressive progression, greater disability symptoms, and more cognitive symptoms in Black MS patients than in white. Black, Hispanic, and other minority communities suffer from a lack of access to care. It is less likely that minorities see a neurologist or receive specialized care for MS than their white counterparts. The Inflation Reduction Act will help bridge the gap between minority communities and receiving the proper care they need to manage MS.