With more than 450,000 people in New Mexico on Medicare, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is announcing that, for the first time ever, there will be a cap on total out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for New Mexico seniors.

On Jan. 1, the Inflation Reduction Act began capping out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at an estimated $3,300, providing substantial relief for individuals facing high medication expenses. This new Medicare drug cap comes in tandem with several other major health care provisions Heinrich helped secure, including free vaccines for seniors and a $35 insulin cap for those on Medicare.

“I fought hard to pass the Inflation Reduction Act because I knew that it would be life-changing for New Mexico families,” Heinrich said. “Today, we’re seeing this landmark bill do exactly what we intended — deliver real results for New Mexicans by lowering health care costs and putting money back in their pockets. With more provisions from this legislation coming online soon, we’re only just getting started.”

This cap will be particularly important for seniors who are being treated for leukemia, multiple myeloma, bone, lung and brain cancer, cystic fibrosis, organ transplants, and hypertension. Last year, before the cap was in place, seniors who took any of three commonly-used cancer drugs — Lynparza, Ibrance, and Xtandi — averaged about $12,000 per year in spending on those drugs alone.

Many key provisions in the IRA have already gone into effect, making significant strides in improving the lives of New Mexicans, including:

  • Free vaccinations for shingles and other recommended vaccinations for seniors. Before the IRA, Medicare beneficiaries were the only patients in the country required to pay for vaccines. This provision has already helped to lower costs for more than 24,700 New Mexicans.
  • $35 monthly cap on out-of-pocket costs for insulin in Medicare Parts D and B. This provision has already helped lower costs for 8,700 New Mexicans.

Additionally, the White House recently announced 48 Medicare Part B drugs that raised their prices faster than inflation, and some drug companies raised prices of certain medications faster than inflation for every quarter over the last year. The IRA provisions Heinrich helped deliver will now require these companies to pay rebates back to Medicare, saving seniors who take these drugs between $1 and $2,786 per dose, depending on their medication.