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Study: Shifting drugs from Medicare Part B to Part D could hit some beneficiaries where it hurts—their wallets

January 18, 2019 / Paige Minemyer

Moving pricey Medicare Part B drugs into Part D could bring down drug spending overall, but it may also hit the wallets of some beneficiaries harder, according to a new study. Researchers led by a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that shifting some of the costliest Part B drugs into Part D would decrease total drug spending by between 7% and 18% after rebates. However, the impact on patients’ out-of-pocket costs would likely vary depending on their supplemental benefits, according to the study. For the majority of drugs, beneficiaries without supplemental plans saw their out-of-pocket costs go down, but estimated cost-sharing actually increased for between about 29% and 39% of drugs.