Amid heightened public concern, the cost of prescription drugs is the focus of renewed attention by the Trump administration, the Biden campaign and lawmakers in Congress and state capitals. Proposed actions range from sweeping health care system changes to targeted initiatives that could affect Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. See KFF’s research, analysis and public opinion data, as well as Kaiser Health News’ journalism, related to prescription drugs and their costs.

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What’s the Latest on Medicare Drug Price Negotiations?

In response to higher drug spending growth and heightened attention to drug prices, some policymakers have proposed allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. This issue brief provides a short history of this proposal, describes several bills introduced in the 116th Congress to allow government negotiations as well as assessments of potential savings from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and considers the prospects for action in the future.

List Prices Increased As Much As 9 Times Faster Than Inflation for 20 of the Top 25 Part D Drugs, Suggesting Potential for Savings Under Proposed Inflation Rebate Policies

A new KFF analysis finds that the list prices for most of the top Medicare Part D drugs by total spending increased as much as nine times the rate of inflation (1.7%) between 2016 and 2017, suggesting recent Congressional proposals targeting such increases could generate savings for Medicare and Part…

Medicare Advantage Plan Switching: Exception or Norm?

The Medicare open enrollment period allows enrollees to compare plans, stick with their current plan, switch to another plan, or shift to traditional Medicare. This analysis examines the extent to which Medicare Advantage enrollees change plans when given the opportunity. It also analyzes the variation in the rate of plan switching by enrollee and plan characteristics and whether people who voluntarily switch plans tend to move to plans with lower premiums, lower out-of-pocket limits, or higher quality ratings.

KFF Health Tracking Poll – February 2019: Prescription Drugs

With increased national attention towards prescription drug costs, this poll examines the public’s experiences with prescription medicine and their views on current policy proposals brought forth by congressional lawmakers and the Trump administration, including international reference pricing, transparency in drug advertisements, and negotiations with drug companies. The survey also dives into the attitudes and experiences of adults, 65 and older – a group that is more likely to report taking prescription medication and shopped for prescription drug coverage.

Utilization and Spending Trends in Medicaid Outpatient Prescription Drugs

Although the outpatient drug benefit accounts for only 6% of total Medicaid spending, drug spending has increased by double digits in recent years, and is expected to grow faster than most other Medicaid services in the next 10 years. This issue brief examines drug spending and utilization from 2014 through 2017 by drug group, brand and generic status, and biologic status to understand the causes for this increase in spending.

Medicare Beneficiaries Spent an Average of $5,460 Out-of-Pocket for Health Care in 2016, With Some Groups Spending Substantially More 

The average person with traditional Medicare coverage paid $5,460 out of their own pocket for health care in 2016, according to a new KFF analysis and interactive tool. This $5,460 includes about $1,000 in out-of-pocket spending for long-term care facility services, averaged across all traditional Medicare beneficiaries.  Such services are…

A Look at Recent Proposals to Control Drug Spending by Medicare and its Beneficiaries

In response to higher drug spending growth and heightened attention to drug prices, policymakers have proposed a variety of policy initiatives to lower the cost of prescription drugs in Medicare. This brief examines in detail the range of proposals offered by the Trump Administration and members of Congress for lowering the cost of prescription drugs, their known effects on the federal budget, and their potential implications for beneficiaries and other stakeholders.

Management and Delivery of the Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit

States are limited in their leverage when it comes to controlling drug spending and use a variety of strategies to manage utilization, including an increased reliance on managed care and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). As policymakers debate proposals that include provisions related to Medicaid pharmacy benefits, it is important to understand the challenges state Medicaid programs face and how policy proposals may impact Medicaid beneficiaries and costs.