According to the HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, 5.6 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved $4.8 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted. The two main reasons are:

  • The ACA closes the Medicare “doughnut hole” under which seniors must pay for drugs entirely out of pocket.
  • Drug makers have also agreed to offer deep discounts to Medicare recipients.

The results:

  • Seniors have saved $4.8 billion on their prescriptions.
  • 5.6 million seniors have received a drug discount or rebate, including 2.3 million this year.
  • Seniors who hit the doughnut hole have saved an average of $657 this year.
  • Over 20.7 million with Medicare also received free preventive services in the first nine months of 2012
  • The health care law will save the typical person with original Medicare $5,000 from 2010 to 2022.

Significant Savings

Among the provisions in the health care law  to make Medicare prescription drug coverage more affordable are these:

  • In 2010, anyone with Medicare who hit the prescription drug donut hole received a $250 rebate.
  • In 2011, people with Medicare who hit the donut hole began receiving discounts on covered brand-name drugs and savings for generic drugs.
  • For 2013, people with Medicare in the donut hole will receive about 53% on the cost of brand name drugs and a 21% savings for the cost of generic drugs. These savings and Medicare coverage will gradually increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed.

Preventative Health Services

The health care law also makes it easier for people with Medicare to stay healthy through preventative health services. Before 2011, Medicare recipients had to pay part of the cost for many preventive health services, making it difficult for many of them to get the health care they needed. For example, recipients had to pay as much as $160 in cost-sharing for a colorectal cancer screening.
Since the health care law means that many preventive services are now offered free with no deductible or co-pay, the cost is no longer a barrier for seniors who want to stay healthy and treat problems early.
  • In 2011, 32.5 million people with original Medicare or Medicare Advantage received one or more preventive benefits free of charge.
  • In 2012, over 20.7 million people with original Medicare have received at least one preventive service at no cost.
  • 2.13 million of them have taken advantage of the Annual wellness Visit, an increase of 650,000 over 2011.

Resources

  • State-by-state information on savings in the donut hole is available here.
  • State-by-state info on utilization of free preventive services is available here.

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