“Because Medicare isn’t negotiating on our behalf, there’s no consistency in drug pricing among drug plans,” states TSCL’s Medicare policy analyst, Mary Johnson
Washington, DC (PRWEB)
September 20, 2017
Medicare doesn’t have the authority to negotiate drug prices, leaving millions of older Americans at risk of price gouging for their prescription drugs, according to a new comparison of drug plans by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “Because Medicare isn’t negotiating on our behalf, there’s no consistency in drug pricing among drug plans,” states TSCL’s Medicare policy analyst, Mary Johnson, who performed the comparisons using the Medicare website’s Drug Plan Finder. Costs vary enormously between plans. “The disparity in pricing for the same drug can be in the hundreds of dollars,” says Johnson.
TSCL was stunned to learn just how big the disparity in drug prices can be. Johnson compared the highest and lowest prices of the top ten most-prescribed drugs in the U.S. using the Drug Plan Finder found on the Medicare website. The overall average cost difference between the highest – and lowest – cost plans for the top ten drugs was $593 per month. Johnson’s comparison used one zip code as a control since prices vary depending on the part of the country where an individual lives, as well as between plans. In Johnson’s zip code she had 23 plans to compare.
A monthly supply of diabetes drug Lantus Solostar, for example, ranges from a high of $682.00 from the mail – order pharmacy of First Health Part D Value Plus plan to a low of $77.75 from the network retail pharmacies for SilverScript Choice, a difference of $604.25 per month.
“Most people 65 and over take more than one prescription drug, so to get the lowest-costing plan that’s right for you, people need to do a drug plan comparison based on all the drugs they currently take, ” Johnson explains. “In addition, you should carefully compare prices at network retail pharmacies as well as mail order — those prices can also vary significantly,” Johnson notes.
The costs shown in the chart below assumed plan coverage started on September 1, 2017 for a new enrollee. The Medicare Drug Plan Finder cost estimates include premiums, and out-of-pocket cost sharing for 2017. …