How Pennsylvania women are saving money on health care thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act

Starting in 2026, the prices for these drugs will decrease for up to nine million seniors, thanks to a provision in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act that allows Medicare to negotiate the prices for these drugs directly with the manufacturers. (Photo via Shutterstock)

By Ashley Adams

May 22, 2024

Pennsylvania’s women are saving money on health care costs right now. Here’s the government program that’s silently working on their behalf.

In late summer 2022, a federal law with a vague name was passed — and because of it, more than 1.5 million women in Pennsylvania are saving money. Here’s a quick briefing on who’s paying less right now than they would without it.

What it is: The Inflation Reduction Act was largely touted as a win for climate change and clean energy, but it also included little-discussed health care provisions that have made a number of medical services less expensive.

Who’s saving on what:

  • Diabetics. You may have heard that people on Medicaid had their insulin prices capped at $35 — that’s from the Inflation Reduction Act. And because that happened, major insulin providers have now made the $35 cap standard on insulin for everyone, even people who are uninsured. In Pennsylvania, an estimated 76,535 people are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
  • Seniors on Medicare who need a vaccine. More than 2 million Pennsylvanians on Medicare — which provides health insurance for people age 65 and up — did not get charged for a long list of vaccines that, in the past, they would have had to pay out-of-pocket for.
  • Seniors on Medicare who get prescriptions. Those 2 million Pennsylvanians on Medicare also have a prescription drug cost cap starting in 2025. The $2,000 per year cap essentially means prescription costs won’t top $167 a month—an especially huge savings for people with serious conditions like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Seniors on Medicare who use certain prescription drugs — mainly women. Part of the Inflation Reduction Act included the ability for the federal government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs covered by Medicare, starting with a list of 10. Those 10 have now been negotiated, and the price drops will start in 2026. Among the 10 are medications largely used by women, who spent $1.55 billion out of their own pockets on them in 2022.
  • Why women? While men in Pennsylvania are also benefiting from the Inflation Reduction Act’s health care provisions, the gender wage gap, occupational segregation into low-paying jobs, lack of jobs with supportive child care policies, and domestic violence all contribute to lower incomes and less health care insurance for women across the US. Their out-of-pocket health care costs are an obstacle to their financial success — which is one reason the Inflation Reduction Act targeted the areas of women’s health that could help their wallets the most.

Who’s behind it: The Inflation Reduction Act passed with only votes from Democrats, including Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey. Every single Republican in Congress voted against it. President Joe Biden signed it into law in August 2022. It’s funded through tax reform and prescription drug reform.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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