The Wall Street Journal reported on May 30, 2017 in an article titled “Surging Drug Costs Inflict Pain” that between 2011 and 2015 the medium out of pocket drug costs have increased from about $79 in 2011 to $117 in 2015. In addition, the number of drugs with out of pocket cost over $1000 increased from 118 in 2011 to 220 in 2015.
Several factors are contributing to the increase; a 14% average annual increase between 2011 to 2015 and a very complicated Part D plan design that requires consumers to a percentage of the retail price of drugs.
The Affordable Care Act has provisions to help consumers with their out of pocket costs. The provisions are designed to gradually lower the percentage the consumer will pay. The percentage this year is 40% and will be lowered to 25% in 2020.