Medicare rebates for 64 drugs to begin rolling out: Here’s what you need to know

People on Medicare will see coinsurance savings on prescriptions for 64 different drugs available through Medicare Part B over the next few months, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week.

The rebate program will run from July 1 to September 30 and is part of the Inflation Reduction Act that aims to reduce the high cost of drugs and keep drug companies from raising drug prices above the rate of inflation.

According to HHS, the drugs covered at the discount are used by more than 750,000 people in Medicare each year, and they will usually be given by a health care provider to treat conditions including osteoporosis, infections and cancer.

Here’s what you need to know.

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Which medicines are included in the discount?

The drugs included in the discount are Medicare Part B drugs, which are usually “outpatient” prescription drugs that must be administered by a doctor or in a clinic, as opposed to being something you can take at home.

Medications included in the list of 64 reimbursable drugs include those for cancer, osteoporosis and more. (Think of something that needs to be given through an IV.)

For a complete list of drugs, which also includes “biosimilar” or non-branded drugs that contain active ingredients, see the fact sheet from HHS.

If you have questions, you should contact your health care provider or you can contact Medicare directly through live chat or by calling 1-800-633-4227.

I am on Medicare. How do I register for the discount?

An HHS spokesperson told CNET that — as long as you have Medicare Part B — you don’t need to do anything to get the discount, and you could see lower coinsurance payments starting today. It will last until September.

“Individuals with Medicare Part B coverage may see lower coinsurance payments for these drugs beginning July 1,” the HHS spokesperson said. “No action is required from registrants to take advantage of this discount.”

How else can I save money on prescriptions with Medicare?

The Medicare Part B discount is part of the broader Inflation Reduction Act, which also includes capped drug prices for people with Medicare Part D.

Additionally, the Medicare Low Income Subsidy (also called Supplemental Assistance) expanded its program this year to people who earn up to 150% of the federal poverty level. You should be automatically enrolled as long as you’re enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, receive Supplemental Security Income or qualify for one of the Medicare Savings Programs, according to the National Council on Aging.

If you are not automatically enrolled by meeting these criteria, but you think you do, you can apply for Supplemental Assistance through the Social Security Administration.

People on Medicare can also take advantage of more commercial programs aimed at lowering drug costs, such as Amazon’s RxPass, which recently expanded its pharmacy benefits to people on Medicare.

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