What’s been going on in the world of Medicare this summer?
While it’s true that the American federal government has somewhat of a negative reputation when it comes to efficiently expanding health and medical rights to as many citizens as possible (especially vulnerable populations like seniors, the disabled, and children), there have been a surprising number of updates regarding Medicare news over the course of this summer.
Courtesy of our friends at MedicareInsurance.com, here are the three biggest news stories regarding Medicare from the last few summer months.
Studies Show Mark Cuban’s Online Pharmacy Could Save Medicare Billions
You’d be forgiven by reacting with surprise if we told you that Texas business magnate and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks has a vested interest in not just healthcare, but Medicare. Still, that’s exactly what’s been in the headlines this summer.
Cuban, who is quickly gaining a reputation for his philanthropy, recently opened an online pharmacy, known as the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company. The Cost Plus Drug Co.’s prescription medications are sold at true cost with no markup as a result of direct negotiation, making their overall out-of-pocket costs much more affordable to the average American senior.
Recent studies conducted by independent researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have shown that the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. model could save the Medicare program billions of dollars by purchasing medications directly from them, rather than from pharmaceutical manufacturers.
According to current Medicare law, Medicare is prohibited from directly negotiating drug costs with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of its beneficiaries. Although the Biden Administration has recently expressed interest in reversing this law, no progress has been made as of yet.
As a private company, Cubans’s Cost Plus Drug Co. is not restricted by these negotiation laws, meaning prices could be negotiated for Medicare beneficiaries by using Cuban’s online pharmacy as a go-between.
Unfortunately, the federal government has thus far refused to work with Cuban’s program, though no one knows for sure what the future holds.
Medicare Part B Premium Reductions May Soon Be a Reality
According to recent reports, monthly premium cost reductions remain a strong possibility for Medicare part B beneficiaries by 2023. This bit of Medicare news could prove to be especially helpful to seniors who live on a fixed monthly income.
In 2021, during the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare Part B premium costs jumped from $148.50 to $170.10, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were required by law to set the Medicare Part B premium at 25 percent of the estimated costs that were incurred by Part B that year.
This, in addition to considerations regarding the potential coverage of Aduhelm, a new Alzheimer’s medication, on a wide scale. Resulted in a higher Medicare Part B premium for this year.
Now that the dust has settled, CMS has been forced to rethink this year’s Medicare Part B premium increase. While such major mid-season changes to Medicare premiums are considered rare, the possibility that American seniors could see their Medicare premiums decrease this year are relatively high.
A New Bill Looks to Expand HSAs to Medicare Recipients
For almost all of the program’s existence, Medicare beneficiaries have been prohibited from making active contributions to any Health Savings Account (HSA) while fully enrolled in Medicare.
Earlier this year, however, House Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) and Jason Smith (R-MO), introduced a bipartisan bill that would allow beneficiaries to maintain contributions to or open new HSA accounts and make contributions to existing ones.
This bill, which has been dubbed the “Health Savings for Seniors Act” (H.R. 3796), would allow HSA accounts to act as a helpful supplement for seniors who are already enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B.
As Representatives Bera and Brown have presented the bill, allowing seniors to keep making HSA contributions would allow them to have better access to crucial services that Original Medicare doesn’t pay for. It is estimated that passage of the bill will also help seniors save around 12 percent on every medical cost paid for with funds from their HSA.
Want to Keep Up to Date on Medicare News and Medicare Plans That May Be Available to You?
MedicareInsurance.com is a great resource for all things Medicare, including Medicare current events stories, answers to frequently asked Medicare questions, and of course comparing Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans in your area that may be beneficial to you and your wallet.
It’s always a great idea to learn about and compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area. These plans can be of great assistance to you when it comes to paying for things that Original Medicare will not. If you’re interested in learning more, give the licensed insurance agents at MedicareInsurance.com a call today at (800) 950-0608.