Part D, Private Plan Spending Rises on Retail Specialty Drugs

Specialty drugs accounted for 37.7% of retail and mail-order prescription spending, net of rebates, in 2016 and 2017, according to a recent study published in Health Affairs. Average annual net spending on retail specialty drugs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries rose from $11.3 billion in 2010-2011 to $35.4 billion in 2016-2017. For private insurance enrollees, net spending increased from $24.6 billion to $57.6 billion during that time period. The growth in spending was partially driven by the increased use of retail specialty drugs — the proportion of people who obtained at least one specialty drug was 5.0% in 2016-2017, more than doubling the rate observed in 2010-2011. Meanwhile, the trend in Medicaid net spending was relatively flat.

© 2021 MMIT

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong produces infographics and data stories on health insurance and specialty pharmacy for AIS Health. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting. Before joining AIS in 2018, she worked at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese.

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