Seniors will pay slightly higher premiums for Medicare prescription drug plans in 2021, CMS said on Wednesday.
The average basic Part D premium will be $30.50 next year, up from $30 in 2020. Premiums for Part D plans have fallen about 12% since 2017, which translates to $1.9 billion in premium savings, the agency said.
"At every turn, the Trump administration has prioritized policies that introduce choice and competition in Part D," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.
Verma also touted a new insulin model taking effect in 2021. Under the voluntary model, more than 1,600 standalone Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage signed on to offer beneficiaries insulin at a maximum copayment of $35 for a month's supply. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Part D insulin users not receiving low-income subsidies would save about $160 under the model.
Also beginning next year, CMS said Part D plans must include information on drug price increases and lower-cost therapeutic alternatives in the plans' explanation of benefits. Plans will also be required to provide a real-time benefit tool to clinicians so they can discuss out-of-pocket drug costs with patients, the agency said.
The upcoming annual Medicare open enrollment period for 2021 runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.