There is still a chance – although small – that some Medicare beneficiaries could receive some money to help with the cost of prescription drugs.
Nearly three months after President Donald Trump announced his intention to send $ 200 drug discount cards to millions of people on Medicare, the stalled plan has overcome one major hurdle: An industry group ensuring that legal standards for health benefits cards are met has approval was given on Monday night, according to a report in Politico.
While the group’s blessing was needed to advance the idea, other complications remain. For example, the administration would need a plan to notify about 39 million beneficiaries that the cards are coming, and it is uncertain how many could be sent before Trump’s term ends.
“There is not much time for this in practical terms [the government] to get this done, especially given other priorities related to the pandemic, ”said Tricia Neuman, executive director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare policy program.
The Biden government, taking over Jan. 20, is not expected to back the cards, which have been criticized for their cost ($ 7.9 billion) and questionable legality.
Trump first pushed through his plan in a campaign speech in Charlotte, North Carolina in late September. The White House said the cards would be paid for under a Medicare program generally designed to test innovations to lower prices or improve healthcare.
In this case, the idea would be to measure whether the extra money would improve a person’s ability to take medications as prescribed because they can afford them better. In Medicare, there is no out-of-pocket limit on the cost of prescription drugs from Part D. However, lower-income beneficiaries are already receiving additional assistance and appear to be excluded from this proposal.
“Right now, a $ 200 drug card looks more like a party favor than a serious effort to address drug costs or testing strategies to improve adherence,” said Neuman.
Neither the White House nor the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services responded to requests for comment.
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