How Nearly Half a Million People with Medicare Saved $724 on Prescription Drugs

2012-05-24 09:57

In the first four months Of 2012, more than 416,000 people with Medicare saved an average of $724 on prescription drugs and 12.1 million used a free preventive service.

Under the new health care law – the Affordable Care Act -- seniors and people with disabilities in Medicare have saved a total of $3.5 billion on prescription drugs in the Medicare drug benefit coverage gap or “donut hole” from the enactment of the law in March 2010 through April of 2012. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released data today showing that, in the first four months of 2012 alone, more than 416,000 people saved an average of $724 on the prescription drugs they purchased after they hit the prescription drug coverage gap or “donut hole,” for a total of $301.5 million in savings. These savings build on the law’s success in 2010 and 2011, when more than 5.1 million people with Medicare saved over $3.2 billion on prescription drugs.

In addition, CMS announced that this year, from January through April, 12.1 million people in traditional Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost to them – including over 856,000 who have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided in the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, over 26 million people in traditional Medicare received one or more preventive benefits free of charge.

“Thanks to the health care law, millions of people with Medicare have paid less for health care and prescription drugs,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The law is helping people with Medicare lower their medical costs, and giving them more resources to stay healthy.”

People with Medicare who hit the coverage gap “donut hole” in 2010 received a one-time $250 rebate. In 2011, people with Medicare began receiving a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 7 percent coverage of generic drugs in the “donut hole.” This year, Medicare coverage for generic drugs in the coverage gap has risen to 14 percent. Coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will no longer exist.

For more information on how the Affordable Care Act closes the Medicare drug benefit coverage gap “donut hole,” please see here at Healthcare.gov.

Prior to 2011, people with Medicare faced cost-sharing for many preventive benefits like cancer screenings and smoking cessation counseling. Now, many of these benefits 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 find and treat problems early.

For more information on Medicare-covered preventive services, many of which are now provided without charge to beneficiaries thanks to the Affordable Care Act, please see here.

To learn what screenings, vaccinations and other preventive services doctors recommend for you and those you care about, please visit the myhealthfinder tool at Healthfinder.gov.

Released by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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