Obamacare Has Saved People on Medicare $3.5 Billion on Prescription Drugs
In four months of 2012, over 856,000 seniors have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided in the Affordable
May 24, 2012 – While the Supreme Court ponders the fate of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Medicare
beneficiaries are saving big on the cost of drugs. They have already saved $3.5 billion on prescription drugs due to the reform bill’s changes
in the coverage provided in the “donut hole” of the Medicare drug program. These savings came between March 2010, when the law was passed, and
the end of April of this year.
Data released today shows 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, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
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
“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,”
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.