Medicare rebates become available to 750,000 Americans

More than 750,000 Americans could receive Medicare rebates this month, as the federal government begins offering savings on 64 different prescription drugs under Medicare Part B.

The Medicare rebate program first became available on Monday, July 1, and will remain available through September 30. Approved as an element of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration passed the rebates to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and keep prices manageable during high inflation.

More than 750,000 people on Medicare use discounted drugs each year for illnesses ranging from osteoporosis to infections and cancer.

All of the drugs in Medicare Part B are used as “outpatient” drugs, usually through an IV, not as drugs you take directly at home after getting a prescription.

President Joe Biden speaks during an event promoting lower healthcare costs in the East Room of the White House. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden approved Medicare rebates on many outpatient drugs.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

All people who are already on Medicare Part B are eligible for the discount and will begin receiving beneficial rates from this month through September.

“Individuals with Medicare Part B coverage may receive reduced coinsurance payments for these drugs beginning July 1,” an HHS spokesperson told CNET. “No action is required from enrollees to take advantage of this discount.”

Medicare expert and Smile Insurance Group CEO Chris Fong echoed that direction, saying all Part B recipients will begin realizing the lower prices in July.

“If a person is taking one of these medications, they don’t need to do anything,” Fong said. Newsweek“The discounts should be applied at the claims processing stage and Medicare members do not need to take any active steps to apply the discounts.”

Alex Bean, a financial literacy instructor at the University of Tennessee at Martin, said these rebates are an important part of the Inflation Reduction Act and help seniors, one of the groups most affected by the effects of inflation.

“With the dramatic increase in daily expenses, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for them to survive based solely on Social Security and other retirement savings,” Bean said. Newsweek.

“This expansion of the amount Medicare covers and the deductible will be a game-changer for many seniors who have trouble paying medical expenses on top of other costs.”

Seniors on Medicare Advantage were also alerted that they may now be able to get early preauthorization, as a bipartisan group of senators has proposed the Improving Timely Access to Care for Seniors Act.

“Elderly Americans should not be forced to wait to get critical care because their providers are busy dealing with piles of paperwork,” said Senator Tim Kaine (VA-D). “This bipartisan legislation will streamline health care processes to ensure that Americans covered by Medicare Advantage can more quickly access the care they need and enable doctors and health care providers to devote more of their time to their patients.”

Today, most Medicare Advantage beneficiaries often have to wait up to seven days for a standard medical order to receive prior authorization, while expedited orders can take up to 72 hours. If the new bill is passed, these times could be greatly reduced.

“I think this bill has a very good chance of passing,” Fong said. “Some potential arguments by insurance companies will be about the additional costs of implementing the electronic request process and the additional staff needed to process prior authorizations within a shorter time frame.

“If the timeframe for standard and expedited processing were reduced by even half, it could be argued that the insurer would have to potentially double its prior authorization team.”