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Health Care Law Saves People With Medicare Over $3.5 Billion on Prescription Drugs

Contact: CMS Office of Public Affairs


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 visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/65-older/drug-discounts/index.html.

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 visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/65-older/medicare-preventive-services/index.html.

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

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Feds set state health insurance exchange app date

HSS released a great resource for states and advocates to use when considering  decisions on how to proceed with a healthcare exchange.  For those of us in South Carolina, the sections on state/federal partnership provides guidance as to how we can proceed to ensure access and best plans are made available to those eligible to apply for assistance under the exchange.

Learn More: Feds set state health insurance exchange app date.

Track our Nation’s Health Care System

Understanding America’s health care system is rather overwhelming and difficult to keep up with at times. Fortunately, with the recent launch of the Health System Measurement Project by HSS, monitoring and measuring how our nation’s health care system is performing just got a little easier. The web-based platform, will allow policymakers, providers, and the public to develop consistent data-driven views of changes in critical U.S. health system indicators.

To get a better idea and start tracking the various health care topics
explore the website.

Good News for Young People: Health Care Options!

ImageWhether still attending school or graduated, determining heath care coverage is challenging.  Hence, YI launched  the “Friends With Benefits: Not Just for College Students” campaign to educate and increase awareness about all the health care options available for young adults post school.  The Toolkit includes brand new updates on the health care law and its impact.

Download A Toolkit 

SC Department of Health and Human Serivces Update

ImageSC Department of Health and Human Serivces Update for those who may have been impacted by SC Medicaid Security Breach

For those families or individuals that may be of limited English proficiency please read the following mesage:

Here is the information you requested; In order to monitor an individual’s credit, there has to be a credit file established with the credit reporting agencies.  A Social Security Number is required for a credit file to be established.  Although the credit monitoring may not be available, Experian will determine whether or not the child(ren) has a credit file.  If the child does have a credit report, there are two options. The parent may choose to freeze the report or put a fraud alert on the child’s credit file. If the decision is to freeze the report, no credit will be issued until it is unfrozen. If the decision is to put a fraud alert on the credit file a creditor will contact the parent any time the child’s information is used.
Confidentiality Note

This message is intended for the use of the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information, including health information, that is privileged, confidential, and the disclosure of which is governed by applicable law. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible to deliver it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this information is STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

If you have received this in error, please notify us immediately and destroy the related message.

Affordable Care Act Offers Tax Credit for Small Businesses

ImageA recent report by Families USA and Small Business Majority finds that with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, millions of small businesses throughout the United States are now eligible for a tax credit to assist with health coverage for employees.

Their analysis found:

  • More than 32 million small businesses, employing 19.3 million workers across the nation, will be eligible for the tax credit;
  • In total, these small businesses are eligible for more than $15.4 billion in credits for the 2011 tax year alone, an average of $800 per employee.

To find out how South Carolina will be benefited view full report 

Bonuses eliminated by House Committee

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted last week to eliminate performance bonuses for states that streamline their Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) procedures and reduce red tape so that more eligible low-income children can get and keep health coverage.

How do you think this will affect our state? South Carolina is apart of the 23 States that have received performance bonuses for improving Children’s Health Enrollment.




Read complete article here: http://www.offthechartsblog.org/no-bonuses-for-you-house-committee-tells-states-that-improve-childrens-health-coverage/

More news on the ACA…

Some adjustments to the Affordable Care Act–Obamacare-  now provide more reasons for small business to favor Obamacare if they were hesitant before. Take a look at Monday’s post from Unconflicted: 377 million reasons for small business to like Obamacare

Does this look promising? Are you on board with this healthcare initiative?