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New Medicare Benefits Will Help Granite State Seniors Save $$

Posted on 03/14/23

woman testing blood sugar

For too long, America’s seniors have paid the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Thankfully, landmark drug pricing reforms that AARP helped secure went live on January 1. Our organization fought the big drug companies over these commonsense reforms for more than 20 years, and today, the new law is bringing real relief for the 2,511 Granite Staters currently enrolled in Medicare.

Beginning this year, copays for 30-day supplies of any insulin covered by Medicare drug plans are now capped at $35. That means enrollees won’t have to pay more than $35 regardless of whether they have met their annual Part D deductible. This is huge for the 2,511 Medicare beneficiaries in prescription drug plans here in New Hampshire who are using insulin. A similar copay cap will also take effect under Medicare Part B — which covers insulin for beneficiaries who use an insulin pump — starting July 1, 2023.
        
Beyond these savings, Medicare now covers the full cost of all vaccines recommended for older adults, including shingles, whopping cough and tetanus. An AARP analysis found that just 45% of people 50+ with Medicare have had a shingles vaccine, even though it is recommended for everyone over age 50. This expanded coverage helps ensure that Medicare enrollees are protected against serious illnesses and makes it more likely that they will have affordable access to the vaccines they need to stay healthy.

And finally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is now authorized to begin negotiating the price of prescription drugs covered under Medicare. The first ten drugs to be negotiated will be announced later this year, and by 2029 as many as 60 drugs could have lower prices through Medicare negotiation.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the policy is estimated to save American taxpayers almost $100 billion over 10 years and help rein in out-of-control prescription costs for Granite State seniors.

In the meantime, and thanks to the new law, if drug companies try to price gouge consumers by raising their prices faster than inflation – as they have for many years – they will be hit with new penalties.

This year's reforms are just one step to lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs, and AARP will keep fighting to make sure that all seniors can get affordable access to the drugs they need.

The bottom line is: Medications don’t work if you can't afford them. That’s why AARP fought for this new law, and why we will keep fighting until every American can afford the prescriptions they need to stay healthy.

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