Medicare Part D Premiums To Drop Next Year

It’s the second year in a row prices have dropped for the prescription drug plan.

The average basic premium for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan is slated to drop again in 2019. Basic Part D premiums are forecasted to fall from $33.59 this year to $32.50 next year, according to CMS. Prices also dropped last year. 

CMS said in a statement that the price decrease comes in the wake of other recent changes to the program. They include:

  • Reducing the maximum amount that low-income beneficiaries pay for certain innovative medicines known as “biosimilars.” 
  • Allowing for certain generic drugs to be substituted onto plan formularies more quickly during the year, so beneficiaries immediately benefit and have lower cost sharing.
  • Increasing competition among plans by removing the requirement that certain Part D plans have to “meaningfully differ” from each other, making more plan options available.
  • Increasing competition among pharmacies by clarifying the “any willing provider” requirement, to increase the number of pharmacy options that beneficiaries have.

The open enrollment period for Medicare begins October 15 and ends December 7. Beneficiaries can choose between any number of Medicare Advantage plans or traditional Medicare. 

CMS said in a statement that “in Medicare Part D, beneficiaries choose the prescription drug plan that best meets their needs, and plans have to improve quality and lower costs to attract beneficiaries. This competitive dynamic sets up clear incentives that drive towards value, as determined by beneficiaries.”

AHIP was one of many to react to yesterday’s announcement, releasing a statement saying that CMS’s move shows that the Part D coverage gap discounts save money for patients.