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Friday, February 10, 2012

Who Benefits from the Affordable Care Act? People with Medicare Do!

Cate Hulme

Staff Writer

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on prescription drugs in 2011.

Before the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare Part D drug coverage were subject to a gap in coverage-often called the "doughnut hole" - when paying for prescriptions. The doughnut hole is the period when people with Medicare must pay the full cost for their prescription drugs. In 2012, it would have started when total drug spending (by the person and the plan) reaches $2,930 for the year. Once total drug spending reaches $6,658, coverage begins again. That would have meant a $4,700 gap in coverage for people with high drug needs - those who need help the most.

But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare receive a 50 percent discount on most name brand medications and a smaller discount on generics. In addition, these discounts will grow until the doughnut hole closes completely in 2020. Last year, the average person who reached the doughnut hole saved $604. By 2020, those folks will save at least $3,000 a year on prescription drugs. To learn more about the protections in the Affordable Care Act for prescription drug coverage through Medicare, click here.

For those who continue to experience difficulty paying for prescription drugs, they may be able to get extra help. To learn more, visit the Social Security Administration website.

Some states also have state-run prescription drug assistance programs that can provide additional help. To learn more about a state's program and who qualifies, click here.

So, the next time someone asks who benefits from the Affordable Care Act, you can tell them that people with Medicare do!