Many residents in The Villages are not aware that a new law includes Medicare and other healthcare benefits, according to Jim Bodenner, president, Villages Chapter of the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN).

The NRLN is based in Washington, D.C., and is a nationwide non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to representing the interests of retirees and future retirees. The Villages Chapter was formed in 2016.

Bodenner said he was recently invited by a law firm in The Villages to talk to their clients about Medicare and other healthcare insurance coverage.

“There were individuals in the audience who were surprised to learn from me that beginning in 2023, Medicare will cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month. Everyone was pleased to hear that beginning in 2025, the amount of out-of-pocket money that Medicare Part D beneficiaries will have to pay each year for their prescriptions will be capped at $2,000.”

He explained that the U.S. Senate and House cut short their usual month-long August recess to pass legislation that included improvements to Medicare and other healthcare benefits. President Joe Biden signed the legislation into law at a ceremony at the White House on Aug. 16.

Additional benefits provided by the law:

• As of Jan. 1, 2023, Medicare enrollees won’t have any out-of-pocket costs for vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends for adults.

• In 2024, the year before the out-of-pocket cap takes effect, Medicare beneficiaries will no longer have any out-of-pocket costs if they reach Medicare’s catastrophic coverage. The way catastrophic coverage works in 2022 is that once an enrollee’s out-of-pocket costs reach $7,050, they pay 5% of their prescription drug costs, with no limit. In 2024, the 5% coinsurance requirement will be gone, and enrollees won’t have to pay anything for their prescription drugs for the rest of the year. Also beginning in 2024 and continuing through 2029, Part D premiums cannot increase by more than 6% a year.

• Beginning in 2025 Medicare Part D plans will offer the option for “smoothed cost-sharing.” This means Part D participants can opt to have their out-of-pocket costs spread out over the year. This is designed to protect from being hit with a big drug bill at one time that may discourage filling prescriptions.

• In 2026, Medicare will begin negotiating drug prices. Medicare will only negotiate the price for 10 drugs that it spends the most on that have been on the market for at least nine years and do not have generic equivalents. By 2028, the number of eligible drugs will increase to 20.

For more information, contact Bodenner at presvillageschapter@nrln.org.

Bodenner volunteers his time to counsel people about Medicare and long-term care issues. Download his “Plan For Life” checklist that outlines his thoughts regarding Medicare and other related issues at https://bodennerj.wordpress.com/download-plan-for-life-checklist/ or visit his blog at https://bodennerj.wordpress.com. He also volunteers on the board of directors of Pure Water for the World, https://purewaterfortheworld.org, and Langley Health Services, https://www.langleymedicalcenter.com.

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