How the Inflation Reduction Act Benefits Older Americans
Depending on what you read or watch, much of the publicity surrounding the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act is about whether or not it will reduce inflation. However, dig deeper and you will find provisions of the bill that will help many older Americans who are enrolled in an optional Medicare Part D plan (most Medicare Advantage plans include Part D). They include, but are not limited, to:
In 2025, the government (more specifically, the Health and Human Services Secretary) will be empowered to negotiate the prices of ten top prescription drugs (filled by pharmacies) and covered by Medicare Part D, rising to 15 in 2027.
In 2028, the United States Department of Health and Human Services will be able to negotiate the price of specialized drugs administered by healthcare professionals for enrollees in Medicare Part B as well as Part D.
Drug companies will need to pay rebates if the costs of their products rise faster than inflation for drugs used by people who have Medicare, plus the bill limits insulin cost sharing to $35 a month.
It would be far better if drug costs for Americans were lowered across the board, and not just for Medicare Part D enrollees. It would also be nice if Congress found a way to make sure that negotiations on drug prices for certain drugs covered by Medicare started sooner than in a few years. It will take a few years before any older Americans began to see any tangible impact from that aspect of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Outrageous drug pricing is not just an issue older Americans face—it’s an issue all Americans face. However, making this effort to curb out of control drug costs for older Americans is a good first step. Having lifesaving and life-improving drugs to address certain conditions should not bankrupt anyone, including our older adults. The Inflation Reduction Act makes a small but real step towards addressing this issue.
These negotiations will be phased in, with prices taking effect, between 2026 and 2029: