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

Contact: CMS Office of Public Affairs
202-690-6145

HEALTH CARE LAW SAVED PEOPLE WITH MEDICARE OVER $3.5 BILLION ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
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 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.

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