Last-minute Trump move to reduce Medicare drug coverage must be reversed

Press Release

January 21, 2021

Would Allow Plans to Not Cover All HIV & Other Drugs

Washington DC… In the final hours of the Trump administration, Seema Verma, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced a Medicare Part D demonstration project that would allow participating Medicare plans in 2022 to not cover all drugs in certain classes and only one drug per class in all others, rather than the current two. While antiretrovirals, the drugs used to treat and prevent HIV, were not mentioned as being impacted in the CMS press release, according to the project’s details, they in fact would be subject to the new standards beginning in 2023. In reaction to the announcement, Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute issued the following statement:

“This last-minute, heartless act against the elderly and the disabled who rely on critical medications to stay healthy and alive must be stopped by the Biden administration. This was another parting gift to the insurance industry which the Trump administration repeatedly sided with. It leaves the door wide open to denying coverage of the medications providers prescribe to their patients. This plan must be stopped.”

Under the demonstration project, Medicare recipients in the plan’s area who rely on medications to treat cancer, epilepsy, organ transplants, and mental illness would lose their “protected status” in 2021. Many people living with and at risk of HIV experience these health conditions and HIV+Hep stands with them to ensure that they can access the medications that they need. Additionally, the plans would only have to cover one drug in all classes, instead of the current two drug per class standard. This would cover every recipient in the Medicare plan’s area.

Jennifer Burke
(301) 801-9847

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