Trump administration announces $35 cap on insulin for seniors

The White House announced on Tuesday that insulin costs for seniors on most Medicare plans would be capped at $35 per month under a new deal it made with insurers and drug manufacturers, saving the average diabetic senior around $446 per year.

More than 1,750 Medicare Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans will cap the drug’s cost, and plans in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico will be available through open enrollment beginning in October, The Hill reported.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been working on an insulin deal for months, and the timing comes just as reports have surfaced that Trump’s support from seniors has been slipping because of the pandemic.

Not a political decision

Despite the fact that Trump was not involved in decisions by some governors to put coronavirus-positive patients back into nursing homes, it is thought that the high numbers of deaths there may be upsetting some senior Trump-supporters.

It is also possible that seniors uncomfortable with the idea of re-opening may be upset with Trump for strongly pushing the idea.

Despite the political dynamics, Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday that the move was not a politically motivated decision.

Deal comes in time for open enrollment

“The timing really is keyed toward open enrollment, and is also just the latest step in what has been a three-plus-year effort to reduce prescription drug costs, including among vulnerable populations, like seniors,”  Conway said.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) noted that one in three seniors has diabetes and could be impacted by the deal.

It is possible that the deal by the Trump administration could lead to slight premium increases, but not enough to offset the majority of the savings.

For seniors on fixed incomes, the roughly $40 monthly savings could be significant.

It’s difficult to know what will happen to prices of drugs, food and other necessities after the pandemic recedes, as well as how health insurance premiums will be affected.

38 million Americans have lost their jobs since March because of the pandemic, and many of them likely lost their health insurance as well, so it’s difficult to predict how that will impact the overall health insurance marketplace.

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