Medicare Saving Big Bucks for
Seniors and Taxpayers, Says CMS
News on Obamacare savings on
prescription drugs for seniors; new information shows historically low
growth in Medicare spending; open enrollment almost over
Open Enrollment for health
and drug plans ends Dec. 7. For more information, compare
benefits, prices, including state-by-state fact sheets,
Nov. 26, 2013 – The Affordable Care
Act (Obamacare) may be having problems kicking off the health care
exchanges for younger Americans, but for seniors it has saved billions
of dollars, according to news today from the Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services. And, the agency adds, it has reached historically low
levels of growth in Medicare spending.
Seniors and people with
disabilities with Medicare prescription drug plan coverage saved $8.9
billion to date on their prescription drugs thanks to Obamacare,
according to new data released today by CMS. At the same time, these
seniors will be free to use more of their Social Security benefit cost
of living adjustment on what they choose because the Medicare Part B
premium will not increase in 2014, thanks to the health care law’s
successful efforts to keep cost growth low.
Since the Affordable Care Act was
enacted, more than 7.3 million seniors and people with disabilities who
reached the donut hole in their Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription
Drug Coverage) plans have saved $8.9 billion on their prescription
drugs, an average of $1,209 per person since the program began.
During the first 10 months of 2013,
nearly 3.4 million people nationwide who reached the coverage gap --
known as the “donut hole” -- this year have saved $2.9 billion, an
average of $866 per beneficiary. These figures are higher than at this
same point last year, when 2.8 million beneficiaries had saved $1.8
billion for an average of $677 per beneficiary.
“Protecting seniors from the
dreaded donut hole and high prescription drug costs is an important
Affordable Care Act reform that Medicare beneficiaries have come to
depend on,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
“Today’s data shows that the law is
already helping millions of seniors save billions of dollars off their
For many people enrolled in
Medicare Part D, the Medicare “donut hole” is the gap in the Medicare
prescription drug benefit before catastrophic coverage for prescriptions
takes effect. Without Affordable Care Act assistance, Medicare
beneficiaries would pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of
prescription drugs once they hit the donut hole, until they reach
But under the discount program in
the Affordable Care Act, in 2010, anyone with a Medicare prescription
drug plan who reached the prescription drug donut hole got a $250
rebate. In 2011, beneficiaries who landed in the donut hole began
receiving discounts on covered brand-name drugs and savings on generic
Next year, Medicare Part D
participants who fall into the donut hole will receive savings of about
53 percent on the cost of brand name drugs and 28 percent on the cost of
generic drugs. These savings and Medicare coverage will gradually
increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed.
Taxpayer Savings by Medicare
News on the continued savings on
prescription drugs comes on the heels of new information showing
historically low levels of growth in Medicare spending. For example:
• CMS recently announced that the
Medicare’s Part B premium will not increase in 2014, and that the last
five years have been among the slowest periods of average Part B premium
growth in the program’s history.
• The Part B deductible will also
not increase, having decreased in 2014. The Part B premium and
deductible for 2014 are 15 percent below what was projected in 2010, the
year the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
• Also as a result of the
Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans
remain stable and strong. Earlier this year, CMS
announced that the average Medicare Advantage (MA) premium in 2014
is projected to be $32.60. CMS also
estimated that the average basic Medicare prescription drug plan
premium in 2014 is projected to be $31 per month, holding steady for 4
years in a row. The deductible for standard Part D plans will decline by
$15 in 2014, to $310. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act,
average MA premiums are down by 9.8 percent.
• Since enactment of the Affordable
Care Act, the life of the Medicare trust fund has been extended by
nearly ten years, till 2026.
The Annual Open Enrollment period
for health and drug plans began on October 15 and ends on December 7.
For more information on Medicare Open Enrollment and to compare benefits
and prices of 2014 Medicare health and drug plans, including
state-by-state fact sheets, visit:
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