Medicare, Social Security, and Insurance

10/25/2022 | By Donna Brody

Two recent announcements from the U.S. federal government are good news for seniors aged 65 and older: a cap on the price of insulin through Medicare and a cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients.

If the proverb is true, “Good things come to those who wait,” then some of the wait is over for senior Social Security and Medicare recipients. Two recent announcements offer good news for seniors, especially for those who have had to stretch their monthly budgets since the Covid-19 pandemic: a cap on the price of insulin for people on Medicare and a cost of living (COLA) increase in Social Security benefits in 2023.

Insulin costs

“An estimated 33% of adults aged 65 or older have diabetes. This population is more at risk of developing diabetes-related complications like hypoglycemia [low blood sugar], kidney failure, and heart disease than younger people living with diabetes,” according to researchers and physicians in the field of endocrinology.

“All people with type 1 diabetes, and some people with type 2 diabetes, need to take insulin to help control their blood sugar levels. The goal in treating diabetes is to keep the blood sugar level within a normal range,” says the American Family Physician organization.

Related: Blood Sugar Control for Older Diabetics

This is good news for seniors who use insulin and struggle to keep up with rising costs. explains, “Plans can’t charge you more than $35 for a one-month supply of each Medicare Part D-covered insulin you take, and can’t charge you a deductible for insulin.”

“We’re very excited that seniors are going to see these cost savings,” said Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief scientific and medical officer at the American Diabetes Association, talking to CNBC.

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress and signed by President Biden recently, insulin copays for Medicare Part D beneficiaries will be limited to $35 per month beginning Jan. 1, 2023. Also important, a Part D provider cannot charge a deductible for insulin.

For more details, including prices for insulin used in pumps, related medical supplies, two- and three-month supplies, etc. visit

Gabbay calls the Inflation Reduction Act “a game changer” for patients 65 and over who use insulin. “More than 8 million people in the U.S. rely on insulin to manage their blood glucose levels, and if they stop taking the medication for a few days, they could die,” he noted.

Tragically, he continues, “as the year progresses, some Medicare patients tend to get nervous about a coverage gap known as the “donut hole” and may try to ration their insulin.” The coverage gap occurs when a patient’s medications accumulate to a predetermined total in a given year and monthly costs increase as they are now responsible to pay 25% of the negotiated price on brand-name and generic drugs.

Starting in 2025, the new inflation reduction act will also reduce the annual out-of-pocket cap on Part D drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate the costs of certain prescription drugs – more good news for seniors.

Good news for seniors drawing Social Security benefits

Happy senior woman with a calculator. Image by Konstantin Sutyagin, Dreamstime. The government has good news for seniors: a cap on insulin prices in Medicare and a cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients.

Another important announcement affecting seniors in 2023 is an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) detailed by the Social Security Administration in early October – the largest increase in benefits in 40 years.

The increase “will provide much-needed relief to millions of Americans,” noted AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “Social Security is the largest source of retirement income for most Americans and provides nearly all income for 1 in 4 seniors.”

According to AARP and the SSA, the average monthly SS benefit will rise by $146 from approximately $1681 to $1827.

“The automatic adjustment is an essential part of Social Security that helps ensure the benefit does not erode over time due to rising prices” – i.e., inflation – Jenkins noted.

Although participants did see an increase in benefits in 2022 of around $90 a month in their checks, that increase was eaten up by a hike in the cost for Medicare Part B premiums, which are normally deducted from a retiree’s monthly payment. In 2023, a drop in Part B premiums (the portion that pays for outpatient services and doctors’ visits) is also expected, meaning the COLA increase will allow beneficiaries to actually “see more money in their pockets next year,” says Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, an advocacy group. Now that’s good news for seniors!

There is one other bit of good news for seniors, says AARP. Some forecasters predict that inflation will “cool” in the coming year. Financial forecaster Trading Economics predicts a decline in inflation to around 4.5 per cent by the middle of 2023. Financial publisher Kiplinger agrees and is predicting a rate of 3 to 4 per cent by the end of 2023. That’s good news for all of us!

Donna Brody

Donna Brody is a former community college English instructor who retired to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She enjoys freelance writing and has self published three romance novels. Besides writing and traveling with her husband, she keeps busy visiting her seven grandchildren.

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