National polling: Adults face challenges affording prescriptions, even with $2,000 Medicare Part D cap

Prescription affordability has long been a concern for adults with Medicare Part D, who currently have no out-of-pocket limit on what they pay for their medications. In August 2022, one of the Medicare reforms passed through the Inflation Reduction Act enacted an annual cap of $2,000, which will take effect in 2025.

We conducted a national poll in October 2022 to look at what impact that limit would have across populations, assess their awareness of charitable foundations providing financial assistance, and measure the impact of the recently expanded Extra Help Program and other Medicare Part D reforms.

Three in four adults said it would be difficult to pay $2,000 out of pocket each year for prescriptions.

While the annual cap is a step forward for affordability, the polling showed that most adults remain concerned about their ability to afford prescription drugs and would have to cut back on food or other essentials if faced with $2,000 annually for their medications.

Key findings

Three in four adults, regardless of income level, race, or health status, said it would be somewhat or very difficult to pay $2,000 out of pocket each year for their prescriptions.

For adults on Medicare polled, concerns were especially high among:

Adults are making sacrifices to afford medications.

If their out-of-pocket prescription costs were $2,000, most adults said they would cut back on food to afford their medications.

  • For adults whose current out-of-pocket costs are less than $2,000 a year, 6 out of 10 report they would need to cut back on food-related expenses if faced with this expense
  • For adults whose current out-of-pocket costs exceed $2,000 a year, 3 in 5 report that they have already cut back on food-related expenses because of their prescription costs

The financial burden of out-of-pocket costs is high in January, especially for adults whose annual out-of-pocket prescription costs exceed $2,000.

On average, these adults reported that they typically pay more than $310 out of pocket for medication in January.