People with Medicare save over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs

NEWS RELEASE — Washington, D.C. – Seniors and people with disabilities in Minnesota have saved $65.2 million since 2010

As a result of the Affordable Care Act – the health care law enacted in 2010 – seniors and people with disabilities in Minnesota have saved $65.2 million on prescription drugs since the law was enacted, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today (Monday, Aug. 20).

Seniors in Minnesota saved an average of $584 in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” in 2012.  Nationwide, nearly 5.4 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs.

In addition, during the first seven months of 2012, the new health care law has helped 314,286 people with original Medicare in Minnesota get at least one preventive service at no cost to them.

“The health care law has saved people with Medicare over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs, and given millions access to cancer screenings, mammograms and other preventive services for free,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “Medicare is stronger thanks to the health care law, saving people money and offering new benefits at no cost to seniors.”

The health care law includes benefits to make Medicare prescription drug coverage more affordable. 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 a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs and a discount on generic drugs. These discounts and Medicare coverage gradually increase until 2020 when the donut hole is closed.

The health care law also makes it easier for people with Medicare to stay healthy. Prior to 2011, people with Medicare had to pay extra for many preventive health services. These costs made it difficult for people to get the health care they needed. For example, before the health care law passed, a person with Medicare could pay as much as $160 for a colorectal cancer screening.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many preventive services are offered free of charge to beneficiaries, with no deductible or co-pay, so that cost is no longer a barrier for seniors who want to stay healthy and treat problems early.

In 2012 alone, 314,286 with traditional Medicare in Minnesota – or 72 percent of those eligible – have received at least one preventive service at no cost to them.  This includes 23,294 who have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided by the Affordable Care Act.

In 2011, an estimated 32.5 million people nationwide with traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage received one or more preventive benefits free of charge.

For state-by-state information on savings in the donut hole, visit: http://www.cms.gov/apps/files/donut-hole-data-chart.pdf

For state-by-state information on utilization of free preventive services, please visit: http://www.cms.gov/apps/files/preventive-data-chart-first-seven-months-2012.pdf

 

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