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Government Claims Seniors Saved Over $6 Billion on Prescription Drugs as Result of Health Care Law

Reforms target Medicare ‘donut hole’ (Mar. 21)

As the third anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) approaches, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced that more than 6.3 million people with Medicare saved over $6.1 billion on prescription drugs because of the health care law.

“By making prescription drugs more affordable, the Affordable Care Act is improving and promoting the best care for people with Medicare,” Sebelius said.

The PPACA aims to make Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable by gradually closing the gap in coverage where beneficiaries must pay the full cost of their prescriptions out of pocket. This gap is known as the “donut hole.”

According to the HHS, people with Medicare in the donut hole now receive discounts when they purchase prescription drugs at a pharmacy or order them through the mail, until they reach the catastrophic coverage phase. The PPACA gave those who reached the donut hole in 2010 a one-time $250 check, and then began phasing in discounts and coverage for brand-name and generic prescription drugs beginning in 2011. The law will provide additional savings each year until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.

In 2013, the PPACA increases the discounts and savings to 53% of the cost of most brand-name drugs and to 21% of the cost of covered generic drugs.

In addition, under the PPACA, those who choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage and Part D have access to a wider range of plan choices, with more four- and five-star plans than were previously available.

Source: HHS; March 22, 2013.

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