Dusetzina outlines savings from 4 primary Medicare Part D reform proposals

There are four leading proposals to redesign the Medicare Part D benefit for prescription drugs, and all of them would save the 48 million Americans that have a Part D insurance plan, according to a new analysis of the proposals published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Stacie Dusetzina, PhD, Ingram associate professor of Health Policy and Cancer Research, outlines the differences in savings among the four plans, introduced by both Republicans and Democrats. The plans are included in the ongoing negotiations of the 2022 spending bill, often referred to as the “social spending bill” or “Build Back Better” plan in news media.

All of the plans would save money for the 48 million Americans — roughly 14% of the total U.S. population — on drugs many of them need for chronic or specialty care, including cancer or other complex illnesses like multiple sclerosis that can cost tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket spending each year.

“Though the aforementioned bills vary somewhat in their details, they share two key features: streamlining the benefit to ensure more consistent and predictable out-of-pocket costs and adding an annual out-of-pocket limit for Part D spending,” Dusetzina wrote.

The savings would not be seen immediately, Dusetzina wrote, meaning most with Part D plans would still have similar out-of-pocket spending on their first fill. People with lower levels of spending would also see more stable costs. Others with more serious conditions, however, would see considerable savings.

“Spending for some of the most-used anticancer drugs in Part D would be reduced by approximately 70 to 80%, which would result in annual savings of thousands of dollars for affected beneficiaries,” Dusetzina wrote.

Read the full analysis at NEJM.org.