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Relatively Few Drugs Account for a Large Share of Medicare Prescription Drug Spending

As policymakers focus attention on proposals to lower prescription drug costs by allowing price negotiation or international reference pricing for a limited number of drugs, this analysis measures the share of total Medicare Part D and Part B prescription drug spending accounted for by top-selling drugs covered under each part.

A Status Report on Prescription Drug Policies and Proposals at the Start of the Biden Administration

This brief provides a status update on prescription drug final rules advanced by the Trump Administration in its final months related to Medicare, importation, and 340B pricing for insulin and epinephrine, and an overview of key drug pricing proposals related to Medicare and prescription drug prices generally that were voted on but not enacted in the previous Congress that may return to the forefront of health policy discussions in the coming years.

Price Increases Continue to Outpace Inflation for Many Medicare Part D Drugs

As context for understanding the rationale for efforts to limit drug price increases, this analysis compares changes in list prices for drugs covered by Medicare Part D in 2019 to the inflation rate, based on data from the most recent Medicare Part D drug spending dashboard from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Who Didn’t Get a Second Shingrix Shot? Implications for Multidose COVID-19 Vaccines

As the U.S. prepares for nationwide distribution of vaccines to combat COVID-19, some are asking whether people who get the first of two doses will return to complete the series. This analysis draws on Medicare Part D prescription drug claims data for the herpes zoster vaccine Shingrix, which also requires two doses, to shed light on this potential challenge of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Options to Make Medicare More Affordable For Beneficiaries Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Medicare provides significant health and financial protections to more than 60 million Americans, but there are gaps in coverage and high cost-sharing requirements that can make health care difficult to afford. This report analyzes several policy options that could help make health care more affordable for people covered by Medicare, especially beneficiaries with relatively low incomes: adding an out-of-pocket limit to traditional Medicare, adding a hard out-of-pocket cap to Part D, expanding financial assistance through the Medicare Savings Programs, and expanding financial assistance through the Part D low-income subsidy program.

FAQs on Medicare Coverage and Costs Related to COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

These FAQs provide the latest guidance on testing and treatment related to COVID-19 for Medicare beneficiaries, including questions related to out-of-pocket costs, the COVID-19 vaccine, telehealth, extended supplies of medication, skilled nursing facility stays, and issues for people in private Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look

For 2021, the average Medicare beneficiary has access to 33 Medicare Advantage plans, the largest number of options available in the last decade, and can choose from plans offered by eight firms. Among the majority of Medicare Advantage plans that cover prescription drugs, 54 percent will charge no premium in addition to the monthly Medicare Part B premium. As in previous years, the vast majority of Medicare Advantage plans will offer supplemental fitness, dental, vision, and hearing benefits. In addition, virtually all will also offer telehealth benefits in 2021.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in 2021

This issue brief provides an overview of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit plan landscape for 2021, with a focus on stand-alone drug plans. It includes national and state-level data on plan availability, premiums, benefit design, cost sharing, information about premium-free plans for low-income beneficiaries, and information about the national Part D drug plans available in 2021.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.