Part D premiums likely to increase slightly in 2021: CMS

Average Part D premiums are set to take a slight uptick in 2021, according to the Trump administration.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates the average basic premium in Part D will be $30.50 next year, a slight increase from $30 in 2020 but still the second-lowest premium rate ever.

Part D premiums have been on a steady decline over the past several years, decreasing by 12% since 2017, which represents close to $1.9 billion in premium savings for beneficiaries.

“At every turn, the Trump Administration has prioritized policies that introduce choice and competition in Part D,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. "Part D premiums continue to stay at their lowest levels in years even as beneficiaries enjoy a more robust set of options from which to choose a plan that meets their needs.”

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Part D enrollment has increased alongside declining premiums, CMS said, with enrollment increasing by 16.7% since 2017.

CMS also touted Trump administration efforts to curb costs for Part D beneficiaries, such as launching the Part D Senior Savings Model earlier this year, in which participating Part D plans will offer insulin with a cap at $35 for a monthly supply.

CMS also eliminated the so-called pharmacy "gag clause," which prevented pharmacists from providing beneficiaries with information on alternative, less expensive ways to purchase drugs than through their Part D plan.

President Donald Trump also signed four executive orders targeting drug pricing late last week, including one that aims to revive the scuttled rule that would nix anti-kickback safe harbors for drug rebates in Part D.