Seniors are informed about health care benefits available through the Inflation Reduction Act

Delaware Public Media | By Joe Irizarry

Published June 2, 2024 at 1:21 PM EDT

The Inflation Reduction Act and how it lowers drug prices for seniors was the topic for a roundtable at the Wilmington Senior Center.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester hosted the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Chiquita Brooks-LaSure at the center to discuss the provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act with seniors.

Brooks-LaSure lists three key provisions now available to seniors.

“Free vaccines and that includes the shingles vaccine, the ones recommended by the CDC, and a $35 monthly cap on each covered insulin. This year in effect today is a cap on catastrophic costs,” said Brooks-LaSure.

Those catastrophic costs are out-of-pocket prescription drug costs which will drop to $2,000 next year.

That’s important because Brooks-LaSure notes one woman with Leukemia said she had to pay $12,000 for one treatment, which was 13% of her income.

Other provisions discussed included expanded eligibility for Medicare Part D’s Extra-Help Low-Income Subsidy, and Medicare’s negotiating the price of prescription drugs.

Blunt Rochester explains it’s important to inform seniors about what’s available to save on prescription drug costs – a key issue for many seniors.

“A lot of people don’t know about their availability to get free shingle shots, or they don’t know about the capping the cost of insulin and things like that,” said Blunt Rochester. “So today our goal was to make sure that we heard from seniors, but also that we shared with them because if they don’t know about the programs then they can’t use them and therefore they don’t have them.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 63,000 Delawareans will save an average of $449 per year on prescription drug costs because of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Blunt Rochester and her office also provided resources to seniors who might need help with the benefits or to share with others in their family or neighborhood.

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