How Trump's drug-pricing plan could boost Medicare out-of-pocket costs

On May 11, President Donald Trump revealed his plan to combat rising drug prices, dubbed "American Patients First."

The plan aims to reduce prescription drug list prices and out-of-pocket expenses for patients, but some experts argue Trump's plan could increase out-of-pocket medical expenses for Medicare patients,  The New York Times reports.

One reason for this relates to the proposal to move some expensive drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, where patients typically pay more out of pocket for some drugs, millions of beneficiaries are not covered for drugs, and Medigap policies are of no help.

Part D does allow negotiation for discounts between private insurers and drugmakers.

David Certner, the legislative policy director of AARP, shared his concerns with The New York Times, saying, "People may see a lot higher out-of-pocket costs if a drug moves from Part B to Part D."

Physicians also have expressed doubt that promised savings from moving some expensive drugs from Part B to Part D will come to fruition.

A representative of at least one pharmacy benefit manager was more optimistic. Steve Miller, MD, CMO of Express Scripts, told The New York Times he is certain his company could save patients out-of-pocket expenses by managing Part B drugs.

Said Dr. Miller: "Part D has been under budget every year, and member satisfaction is extraordinarily high. It's a very successful program. That's why people are excited about moving drugs into Part D."

Read the full report here.


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