Since 2006, seniors and disabled Americans have been able to easily and cost-effectively get the prescriptions they need, thanks to Medicare Part D. Next year will be no different. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced that Part D prices will remain at a constant, affordable level - for the sixth year in a row.
In the past five years, premiums have risen a total of just three dollars - a stagnant growth rate average of 0.26% per year. In 2016, premiums for basic Medicare Part D plans will be priced at $32.50.
Widespread access to high quality medicines at low prices is the calling card of Part D. Earlier this summer, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that Medicare will spend $13 trillion less in the next 35 years than initially expected. An important development considering Medicare and Medicaid represent a substantial portion of the federal budget each year.
It's rare that such a reasonable pricing structure remains sustainable for so long, but the core cause of this longevity has always been simple - competition. Medicare Part D fosters an environment that encourages health care plan providers to propose lower prices than their counterparts. The byproducts of this competitive system? Better savings and quality of life for subscribers. And for patients, reasonably-priced prescriptions mean less trips to the emergency room and fewer expensive procedures.
In short, the numbers don't lie: Medicare Part D saves money. But more importantly, Medicare Part D saves lives. Millions of older and/or disabled Americans depend and rely on its consistency, feasibility and success. I'm certain that millions more will find comfort in knowing they'll be able to do the same in the years to come.