If they’ve been listening to President Donald Trump, seniors may be expecting a $200 debit card in the mail any day now to help them pay for prescription drugs.
He promised as much this month, saying his administration soon will mail the drug cards to more than 35 million Medicare beneficiaries.
But the cards — if they are ever sent — would be of little help. Policy experts say that what Medicare beneficiaries really need, as well as younger Americans, are sweeping federal changes to close the gap between what their health insurance pays and what drugs cost them.
The nation’s 46.5 million enrollees in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program — except for those who qualify for low-income subsidies — face unlimited out-of-pocket exposure to drug costs even though the Affordable Care Act finally closed the infamous “doughnut hole.” After Part D enrollees have spent $6,550 and reached the catastrophic threshold in a given year, they still must pay 5% coinsurance on the list price of their drugs.
Congress was considering legislation to lower drug prices and cap out-of-pocket costs until early this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic