The biggest policy change — a system for Medicare to negotiate prices for prescription drugs — won’t begin to deliver lower costs until 2025, and then only for a selected set of 10 medicines, as well as insulin products. The number of drugs subject to negotiations would build with time, reaching 100 in six years and continuing to grow by 20 a year.
Other provisions would take effect earlier.
— Copays for insulin would be limited to $35 a month, starting in 2023. Biden called the high cost of insulin “one of the most egregious examples” of overpriced medicines. He was introduced at the White House by a young woman, Iesha Meza, who couldn’t afford insulin for her Type 1 diabetes and was hospitalized in a coma.
— Drugmakers would be required to pay rebates to Medicare if they raise prices faster than inflation, starting that same year. That provision would benefit people with private insurance as well.
— Medicare recipients with high drug costs would finally get a cap on their annual financial exposure, $2,000 starting in 2024.
— Shingles vaccines and other shots covered under Medicare’s “Part D” pharmacy benefit would be cost-free to consumers, starting in 2024.
The social legislation has passed the House and is pending before the Senate, where it could come to the floor as early as next week.