Amid heightened public concern, the cost of prescription drugs is a focus of attention by the Biden administration and lawmakers in Congress and state capitals. Proposed actions range from allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of certain drugs to limiting some drug price increases to inflation and capping out of pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries in Part D, among other initiatives. 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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Millions of Medicare Part D Enrollees Have Had Out-of-Pocket Drug Spending Above the Catastrophic Threshold Over Time

Medicare Part D, the outpatient prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries, provides catastrophic coverage for high out-of-pocket drug costs, but there is no limit on the total amount that beneficiaries have to pay out of pocket each year. Policymakers on both sides of the aisle support proposals to modify the design of the Part D benefit and establish a hard cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug spending by Part D enrollees. This analysis shows the number of Part D enrollees without low-income subsidies who have exceeded the catastrophic coverage threshold annually, and over multiple years, based on 2007-2019 Part D claims data.

Why Drug Price Negotiation Has Staying Power

In this Axios column, Drew Altman looks beyond Medicare to what’s at stake for employers and workers in the debate about the government negotiating drug prices.

FDA’s Approval of Biogen’s New Alzheimer’s Drug Has Huge Cost Implications for Medicare and Beneficiaries

The question of what would happen when a new, expensive prescription drug comes to market for a disease like Alzheimer’s that afflicts millions of people has loomed large in discussions over drug prices in the U.S. This brief analyzes the cost implications for Medicare and beneficiaries associated with Biogen’s new FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drug, which will cost $56,000 per year.

Utilization and Spending Trends in Medicaid Outpatient Prescription Drugs, 2015-2019

Prescription drug spending in Medicaid and other health programs has returned to the national policy debate. This analysis examines Medicaid outpatient prescription drug utilization and spending before rebates over the 2015 to 2019 period, which is helpful for understanding recent cost drivers and areas for targeted policy action.

Key Facts About Medicare Part D Enrollment, Premiums, and Cost Sharing in 2021

The Medicare Part D program provides an outpatient prescription drug benefit to older adults and people with long-term disabilities in Medicare who enroll in private plans, including stand-alone drug plans and Medicare Advantage drug plans. This analysis provides the latest data about Part D enrollment, premiums, and cost sharing in 2021 and trends over time.

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