Health insurers are expected to trim 5 million of their covered drugs for chronic pain and chronic heart disease and other conditions in 2018, as part of the Obama administration’s prescription drug price control.
The plan is expected to save the federal government more than $100 billion by 2020, and it would come on top of the $500 billion savings that insurers have already promised for this year.
Medicare also has proposed slashing payments for the nation’s two biggest chronic pain medications, Prozac and Zoloft, in 2019, which are scheduled to kick in in 2021.
Insurers also are expected in 2019 to save more than a million on the cost of prescription drug coverage for those who have pre-existing conditions and have been diagnosed with cancer, according to a memo from the Medicare Department.
The cuts are also expected to be greater for those with asthma and diabetes.
The Medicare and Medicaid budgets for 2019 are expected at $1.5 trillion, according the budget office.
Insurance plans are expected spend about $50 billion less than they did in 2018 on prescription drug costs.
The reduction in spending would be the first of its kind in 20 years.
The Obama administration has proposed reducing prescription drug spending for seniors, including the cost-sharing for prescription drugs, to $3,000 per month in 2019 and to $1,500 per month by 2020.
It also proposed extending benefits for people with pre- and post-existing chronic conditions and expanding Medicaid to cover prescription drugs for the poorest Americans.
The proposal has been opposed by many seniors and other groups, who say the government should not pay more to drugmakers.
The White House estimates that the cuts will cost about $100 per enrollee in 2020, or about $10,000 for every enrollee.