A big cut in prescription drug prices for some Medicare beneficiaries kicks in next year, but finding those savings isn’t easy.
Congress approved in August a $35 cap on what seniors will pay for insulin as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, along with free vaccines and other Medicare improvements. But the change came too late to add to the Medicare plan finder, the online tool that helps beneficiaries sort through dozens of drug and medical plans for the best bargain.
Officials say the problem affects only 2023 plans.
To fix anticipated enrollment mistakes, Medicare officials will give beneficiaries who use insulin a chance to switch plans next year. They can make one change after Dec. 8 and throughout 2023 through a special enrollment period for “exceptional circumstances.” Typically, people are locked in for an entire year.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided initial details of the opportunity in a document distributed to the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, which assists Medicare enrollees in every state. Although Medicare did not publicize the document, beneficiaries can get more information by contacting their local SHIP office. CMS officials would not answer questions about whether the ability to change plans will be granted automatically.
“We are pleased that CMS is offering the special enrollment period that will allow insulin users to change plans in 2023,” said Chris Reeg, director of the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program.
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