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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Affordable Care Act Helped Seniors Save $6.1 Billion on Prescription Drugs

The Department of Health and Human Services announced late last week that 6.3 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved a total of $6.1 billion on their prescription drug coverage since the enactment of Affordable Care Act in 2010. On average, this equates to $706 in savings per person in 2012.

Seniors saw these savings because the Affordable Care Act is gradually closing the gap in prescription drug coverage in Medicare Part D. This gap is known as the doughnut hole. When beneficiaries reach a certain limit of covered prescription drug costs, they are required to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for prescriptions until they reach a catastrophic spending limit and their coverage resumes. (Check out our blog post on the doughnut hole and the Affordable Care Act to learn more.)

The Affordable Care Act calls for the doughnut hole to be closed by 2020. This process started in 2010, when beneficiaries received a $250 rebate check. Then, in 2011, beneficiaries began receiving discounts on prescriptions drugs while they were in the doughnut hole. These discounts are increasing every year until the doughnut hole is completely phased out.

These are big savings for seniors who depend on their prescriptions to keep them healthy. And this is only the beginning—these savings will continue to grow in the years to come.

For more information on the donut hole being phased out, visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/65-older/drug-discounts/