Great news for seniors and people living with disabilities who rely on Part D! Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums are projected to drop. CMS estimates the average monthly Part D premium in 2018 will be $33.50, about a dollar less than this year’s average.
Here are a few important takeaways from the announcement:
- Part D continues to increase access to affordable prescription drugs.
Not only are premiums expected to decrease for 2018, but year after year, average premiums have consistently remained stable. As a result, 90 percent of beneficiaries have comprehensive drug coverage, and studies show improved rates of adherence to medicine amongst beneficiaries.
- The program’s unique structure drives down costs for beneficiaries and taxpayers.
Part D’s competitive structure enables purchasers to negotiate large discounts and rebates with prescription drug manufacturers. According to the Medicare Trustees, negotiated rebates have increased every year of the program and are projected to continue to increase.
- Part D helps beneficiaries live longer, healthier lives.
Since Part D was first implemented in 2006, the Medicare population has seen improvements in longevity. A study in The American Journal of Managed Care found that almost 200,000 Medicare beneficiaries have lived at least one year longer and life expectancy for beneficiaries has increased by 3.3 years. These improvements in health have resulted in fewer hospitalizations and reduced nondrug medical spending, leading to a reduction in overall health care spending.
The CMS announcement is further evidence of Part D’s success in improving health, controlling costs and saving lives. We must continue to protect this critical program so seniors and people living with disabilities can continue to live happy, healthy lives.
Learn more about Medicare Part D here.
Nicole Longo Nicole is senior manager of public affairs at PhRMA. She previously worked for a D.C.-based public affairs firm where she assisted a wide range of clients with communications efforts on everything from trade policy to agriculture policy to health care policy. Outside the office, Nicole can be found trying new restaurants (usually Italian), taking an occasional barre class and cheering on the Cincinnati Bengals.