Millions of Americans on Medicare, like Gene Faltus, spend more than $2,000 annually on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. As drug price increases outpace inflation each year, those on fixed incomes see more and more of their budgets taken up by health care costs.
Every year, Gene spends around $7,000 out of pocket for the 24 prescription medications that keep him alive. Gene, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer seven years ago, also lives with eight different cardiac conditions, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, and temporal arteritis. As a retired broadcast engineer, he worked and saved his entire life to be able to enjoy his retirement—but the steep price of his prescription drug costs have forced Gene and his wife to make sacrifices to live on a fixed income. However, since Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, Gene will save around $5,000 annually thanks to the $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs. While the savings will be life-changing for Gene, he is more excited that Medicare recipients everywhere finally have relief from high prescription costs.
I was an average middle-income guy who saved religiously for retirement. But with my prescription costs, we had to give up things like travel. I always wanted to travel more, but I have to make tough choices. We don't go out for meals, we downsized our vehicles. It's been a choice we make to afford to live.
The $2,000 copay cap from the Inflation Reduction Act will save older adults such as Gene thousands of dollars per year. For many, this is the difference between affording treatment and going without care.
Read more stories on how recent legislation has benefited Americans
This collection features stories from people in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire whose lives have been improved by the legislation passed during the Biden administration’s first two years.