White House announces deal to cap insulin costs for seniors
Most seniors on Medicare plans will pay no more than $35 for a month’s worth of insulin under a new agreement reached by insurers, drug manufacturers and the Trump administration.
More than 1,750 Medicare Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans will cap the cost of insulin copays at $35, saving enrollees an average of $446 per year, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
CMS expects plans that cover the new benefit will be available in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with open enrollment beginning Oct. 15 and ending Dec. 7.
The announcement Tuesday comes as polls show support for President Trump is slipping among seniors as anxiety over COVID-19 and Trump’s handling of the crisis grows. COVID-19 is disproportionately killing seniors, particularly those living in nursing homes. Polls also have shown high drug costs are a top issue for voters in 2020.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior adviser and 2016 campaign manager, told reporters on a call Tuesday the announcement has nothing to do with politics.
“The timing really is keyed toward open enrollment, and is also just the latest step in what has been a three-plus-year effort to reduce prescription drug costs, including among vulnerable populations, like seniors,” Conway said.
“So we’re talking prescription drugs today, not politics here at the white House,” he added.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma told reporters Tuesday that premiums could “slightly increase” to offset the costs of the new program.
One in every three seniors has diabetes, according to CMS.