Experts: CMS Move to Cut Insulin Costs Has Limits

Recently, CMS unveiled a new program to reduce Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for insulin (RDB 3/12/20, p. 8). The voluntary model aims to lower the cost of a 30-day supply to “no more than $35” and reduce annual insulin costs by an average of $446 per person. Industry experts say the program, called the Part D Senior Savings Model, should save patients money but will have a limited impact on overall drug spending.

“The goal of the program is a way of putting the rebates and additional pricing incentives up front to the member level,” Brian Anderson, an actuary at Milliman Inc., tells AIS Health via email. “This is not a direct point-of-sale rebate approach, but it is a similar strategy for this therapeutic category.”

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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