White House: Inflation Reduction Act will cap drug costs, premiums for thousands of Georgians

HHS Secretary Xavier Beccara calls new law the nation’s most significant piece of legislation since Obamacare
President Biden signed his signature health care and climate bill into law Tuesday. (CNN/POOL/SENATE TV/HOUSE TV/NYSE)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 1:27 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 2:30 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The Inflation Reduction Act shepherded through Congress by Democrats and just signed by President Joe Biden will cap prescription drug costs for hundreds of thousands of Georgia Medicare beneficiaries, reduce health insurance premiums by about $600 per year, expand coverage to about 142,000 Georgians, and cap insulin co-payments for Georgia Medicare beneficiaries.

That’s according to White House officials who held a digital media call with national reporters Thursday. Xavier Beccara, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, called the recently passed and signed Inflation Reduction Act the nation’s most significant piece of legislation since the Affordable Care Act.

“Every American deserves the peace of mind that quality, affordable health insurance brings, and Americans facing illness should never have to worry about how they are going to pay for their treatment or face a choice between buying life-saving medications and putting food on the table,” Beccara said. “The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will lower health care costs for millions of Americans and put money back in the pockets of American families and seniors.”

According to the White House, the law will protect Georgians from catastrophic drug costs by capping Medicare beneficiary out-of-pocket costs in Part D at $2,000. That cap goes into effect in 2025.

Starting next year, the legislation will cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for Medicare beneficiaries at no more than $35 for a month’s supply. The White House said 106,000 Georgia Medicare beneficiaries used insulin in 2020.

Also starting next year, drug companies will be required to pay Medicare a rebate if they increase drug prices faster than inflation.

The bill, according to the White House, also:

  • Expands eligibility for full Part D Low-Income Subsidies – known as Extra Help – in 2024 to low-income beneficiaries with incomes up to 150% of poverty and modest assets. About 15,000 Georgia Medicare beneficiaries received partial Extra Help in 2020.
  • Will require $0 cost-sharing for vaccines for Medicare Part D beneficiaries starting in 2023. While Medicare Part B covers vaccines such as the flu vaccine at no cost-sharing, patients receiving vaccines covered under Medicare Part D, such as the vaccine for shingles, must pay for a portion of the cost out of pocket.
  • Expands health insurance coverage next year to about 142,000 more Georgians.