How Donald Trump’s Health Care Plan Affects Medicare
Donald Trump became President over a year ago. Throughout his campaign, Trump made promises regarding healthcare and his plans to improve our current system. The proposed Trump healthcare plan includes various 2018 Medicare changes, some with directly contradict his previous statements. Let’s take a look at what has and hasn’t changed in the last year.
Medicare May Not Be Cut (2016)
A common thread in Donald Trump’s campaign speeches were his promises to protect Medicare benefits. Trump claims a growing economy and direct negotiations with drug companies regarding prescription costs will allow lawmakers to avoid Medicare changes.
February 2018, update:
The proposed 2019 budget put forth by the Trump administration suggests $266 billion dollars in Medicare cuts. The plan is only a proposal, and the current Congress doesn’t seem poised to agree with the direction coming out of the White House, since a two-year, $300 billion budget agreement just passed.
Allow Americans to Buy Imported Drugs (2016)
Trump wants to allow Americans to buy safe and dependable drugs from overseas. He claims that this will give Americans access to cheaper drugs and more options for prescriptions. However, some drugmakers believe that re-importation could lead to counterfeit and unreliable treatments, according to Bloomberg Politics.
February 2018 update:
A few states, like West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Vermont, has been drafting legislation asking the Trump administration to allow them to initiate their plans to import drugs from Canada. The proposed idea would include the state department setting up a program to buy prescription drugs from Canada at wholesale and then reselling those drugs to individual hospitals and pharmacies. The onus would then be on the states participating in this program to determine the safety and cost-effectiveness of the imported drugs.
Negotiate Drug Prices (2016)
Trump calls for Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies to lower the price of prescription drugs. Trump claims that direct negotiation could save $300 billion, though many experts believe this number is unachievable. Private plans in Medicare Part D are currently responsible for this negotiation.
February 2018 update:
The Trump administration’s 2019 budget outline proposed a possible path to lowering prescription drug prices: require insurers to share discounts, at least one-third of the total rebate, from drug manufacturers directly with Medicare enrollees. The budget plan also proposes implementing an out-of-pocket limit to Part D plans and would require coverage of only one drug per category, to drive down costs.
Those with Medicare Part B Only Won’t Have to Pay a Fee (2017)
Since Donald Trump wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, those who only have Medicare Part B may no longer have to pay a fee for not having health insurance.
December 2017 update:
The tax reform bill signed by President Trump in 2017 involves a plan to remove the penalty for not having health insurance. However, the law does not take effect until 2019, which means individuals without health insurance in 2017 and 2018 will still be subject to a fee on their tax returns. Currently, Part B (Medical Insurance), alone, doesn’t count as minimum essential coverage under Obamacare, according to Obamacare Facts.
Repeal Obamacare’s Medicare Reform
Obamacare affects Medicare in a variety of ways. If Donald Trump repeals Obamacare, like he has said he wants to, some current Medicare benefits will likely change as well. Other seniors may see their costs go up if the Medicare Part D coverage gap remains open. Obamacare is working on closing this coverage gap, also known as the “doughnut hole,” which means Medicare patients must cover 100% of prescription drug costs once they max out their Part D prescription limit.
February 2018, update:
The Trump administration was unsuccessful in 2017 in their attempts to repeal Obamacare. It was, however, successful in making some changes to Medicare Part D prescription coverage via The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law in February of 2018. Some notable 2018 Medicare changes are:
- To continue closing the Part D coverage gap, beginning in 2019, Medicare Part D plans will require beneficiaries to cover 25 percent of prescription drug costs, down from 30 percent in past years.
- The drug manufacturer discount will also increase from 50 to 70 percent in 2019.
- Premiums for beneficiaries of Medicare Part B and Part D making $500,000 as individuals, and $750,000 for married couples, will increase by five percent, from 80 percent to 85 percent.
- Part D coverage gap discount programs will include biosimilars starting in 2019.
Things to consider, going forward: change is constant. Iif this past year has been any indication of what’s to come, more change is on the horizon.
Have questions about 2018 Medicare changes or need additional information? Speak with a licensed agent today! 855-802-1206.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.