By Katie DeCarlo and Jennifer ZieglerUpdated April 10, 2019 11:03:19The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is offering discounts on some of its most popular health care services in an effort to help consumers manage the rising cost of medical care.
The agency’s Health Benefits Exchange (HBE) announced the new savings Wednesday on a variety of programs, including the cost-sharing reductions (CSR) on certain prescription medications, preventive care, dental care, and more.
The agency has been pushing for a nationwide health insurance exchange for years, but in the interim, it’s had limited success.
The CSRs for some medications will be reduced by $40, but the CSRs will not be reduced on the cost or on the coverage.
This will help consumers save money when the medicine is not covered by Medicare.
The price-sharing reduction will be offered to Medicare beneficiaries who have a household income of less than 138 percent of the poverty level (FPL).
The CSR will be $40 for a family of four, while a family earning $40 a month will pay $30 less per month.
The HHS announced the savings on Wednesday as part of its ongoing effort to improve access to affordable health care and better manage the health care costs of low-income Americans.
“This is an important step toward improving access to quality, affordable health insurance for all Americans,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement.
“I applaud this initiative to help the millions of Americans who are struggling to keep their insurance plans and access to care.”
Healthcare costs have been on the rise, especially in the costliest areas, and HHS has been focusing on helping people avoid the high cost of healthcare by reducing out-of-pocket expenses.
In the past year, HHS has also implemented new federal health insurance marketplaces, including a $7.4 billion expansion of health insurance coverage in 2017 that expanded coverage to more than 4 million people.
The administration also launched a national healthcare reform website last week.
The health care savings are part of a broader push to improve affordability of healthcare, which HHS has said has made the health insurance marketplace more competitive than ever.
The administration said the savings would apply to any Medicare plan that has been on sale since October 2017 and will apply to plans in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.