Seniors Face Crushing Drug Costs as Congress Stalls on Capping Medicare Out-Of-Pockets

Sharon Clark is able to get her life-sustaining cancer drug, Pomalyst — priced at more than $18,000 for a 28-day supply — only because of the generosity of patient assistance foundations. Clark, 57, a former insurance agent who lives in Bixby, Oklahoma, had to stop working in 2015 and go on Social Security disability and…

Congress Stalls Seniors
...

.

Every year, however, Clark has to find new grants to cover her expensive cancer drug.

It's shameful that people should have to scramble to find funding for medical care, she said. I count my blessings, because other patients have stories that are a lot worse than mine.

Many Americans with cancer or other serious medical conditions face similar prescription drug ordeals. It's often worse, however, for Medicare patients. Unlike private health insurance, Part D drug plans have no cap on patients' 5% coinsurance costs once they hit $6,550 in drug spending this year (rising from $6,350 in 2020), except for very low-income beneficiaries.

President-elect Joe Biden favors a cap, and Democrats and Republicans in Congress have proposed annual limits ranging from $2,000 to $3,100. But there's disagreement about how to pay for that cost cap. Drug companies and insurers, which support the concept, want someone else to bear the financial burden.

That forces patients to rely on the financial assistance programs. These arrangements, however, do nothing to reduce prices. In fact, they help drive up America's uniquely high drug spending by encouraging doctors and patients to use the priciest medications when cheaper alternatives may be available.

Growing Expense of Specialty, Cancer Medicines

Nearly 70% of sen

...

Read original at Kaiser Health News

"Related" to medicare drug patients cancer:

 

Related News

Same category stories

Get our stories delivered

From us to your inbox weekly.