HEALTH CARE LAW SAVES $3.9 BILLION ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS FOR PEOPLE WITH MEDICARE IN 2012 ALONE

States News Service
Source: Lexis Nexis
BALTIMORE, MD

The following information was released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, over 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also released data today showing that in the first half of 2012, over 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs in donut hole coverage gap for an average of $629 in savings this year.

Millions of people with Medicare have been paying less for prescription drugs thanks to the health care law, said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. Seniors and people with disabilities have already saved close to $4 billion. In 2020, the donut hole will be closed thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

These savings are automatically applied to prescription drugs that people with Medicare purchase, after they hit the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap or donut hole. Since the law was enacted, seniors and people with disabilities have had several opportunities to save on prescription drugs:

In 2010, people with Medicare who hit the donut hole received a one-time $250 rebate. These rebates totaled $946 million for 2010;

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. Last year, these discounts totaled over $2.3 billion in savings;

This year, Medicare coverage for generic drugs in the coverage gap has risen to 14 percent. For the first six months of the year, people with Medicare have saved $687 million.

Coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will be closed.