Medicare Part D Plan Finder can help patients save on prostate cancer drug costs

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"This could make a huge impact for patients with limited resources,” says Benjamin Pockros, MD, MBA.

The Medicare Part D Plan Finder, a free, online tool that compares pricing among Medicare Part D prescription plans, could help patients with advanced prostate cancer identify affordable drug plans and save on out-of-pocket costs.1,2

The findings were published in Urology Practice.

Benjamin Pockros, MD, MBA

Benjamin Pockros, MD, MBA

“Patients with Medicare Part D have dozens of different drug plans available to choose from, but most patients unfortunately are not aware of this. If they compare estimated costs, they could save thousands of dollars each year in drug costs. This could make a huge impact for patients with limited resources,” said lead author Benjamin Pockros, MD, MBA, in a news release on the findings.2 Pockros is a urology resident at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

For the study, the investigators assessed plan options that would be available in 2023 among 12 different zip codes in the United States, which yielded an average of 24 (range, 19 to 27) Part D plans per zip code. Specifically, out-of-pockets costs associated with enzalutamide (Xtandi) and abiraterone (Zytiga) were compared.

Among all plans, the median out-of-pocket costs were $11,626 (range, $9854 to $13,061) for enzalutamide and $9275 (range, $1379 to $13,274) for abiraterone per year. The median out-of-pocket cost for the most affordable plan covering abiraterone was $1484, compared with a median of $10,207 for enzalutamide, representing a median out-of-pocket cost difference of $8758 between the 2 drugs.

The difference in out-of-pocket costs for the most expensive plan to the least expensive plan among all 12 cities was $1839 for enzalutamide and $9321 for abiraterone. Within the city with the most expensive median plan costs, the difference between the most expensive plan and the least expensive plan was $2512 for enzalutamide and $10,343 for abiraterone, representing potential cost savings for patients.

Based on these findings, the authors suggest that, “Comprehensive cancer centers could include plan navigators as an essential component of treatment.”1

Pockros added in the news release,2 “We know cancer can take a devastating physical, emotional, and financial toll on patients. For those enrolled in Medicare Part D, this plan finder is free and easy to use, and hopefully one small step in improving cancer care in our country.”

The investigators are now working on a project to help educate patients with prostate cancer about the Medicare Part D Plan Finder.

The comparator tool is available online at medicare.gov/plan-compare. Patients can switch their Medicare plans during the annual open enrollment period that will take place from October 15 to December 7.

References

1. Pockros B, Shabet C, Stensland K, Herrel L. Out-of-pocket costs for prostate cancer medications substantially vary by Medicare Part D plan: An online tool presents an opportunity to mitigate financial toxicity. Urol Pract. Published online June 22, 2023. Accessed September 7, 2023. doi:10.1097/UPJ.0000000000000421

2. A free online tool can help prostate cancer patients save on out-of-pocket drug costs. News release. Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan. September 5, 2023. Accessed September 7, 2023. https://www.newswise.com/articles/a-free-online-tool-can-help-prostate-cancer-patients-save-on-out-of-pocket-drug-costs?ta=home

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