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Nearly seven million seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare have saved $9 billion to date on their prescription drugs thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That’s an average savings of about $1,200 per person since the health care law started closing the “doughnut hole.”

prescription_drugsOver time, the law will eliminate the doughnut hole — the gap in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage where enrollees had to pay the full cost of their prescriptions.

In 2011, drug manufacturers began providing a 50 percent discount on brand-name and biologic drugs for enrollees in the doughnut hole. Starting in 2013, the Medicare program provides an additional discount on brand-name and biologic drugs for enrollees who are in the doughnut hole. This discount will gradually increase until it reaches 25 percent in 2020.

Also in 2011, the Medicare program began providing a seven percent discount on generic prescription drugs for enrollees who are in the doughnut hole. This discount will gradually increase until it reaches 75 percent in 2020. You can learn more about how the doughnut hole closes and all of the discounts here.

In total, approximately 28 million Medicare beneficiaries have prescription drug coverage. Of these, it is expected that 18 million Part D enrollees who previously faced the possibility of falling into the coverage gap will benefit from the elimination of the doughnut hole.

Additionally, new data released today shows that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, in the first 11 months of 2013 alone, an estimated 25.4 million people with traditional Medicare received at least one free preventive service at no out-of-pocket cost, such as an annual wellness visit or mammogram.

Prescription drug coverage plays a vital role in the health and financial security of the older population. For older adults, prescription drugs are critical in managing their chronic conditions, curing diseases, keeping them healthy and improving their quality of life.

AARP is glad to see that seniors and people with disabilities continue to gain from the preventive health benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and the discounts it provides to those who hit the dreaded Part D doughnut hole.

To learn more about what the health care law means for you, visit HealthLawAnswers.org.

 

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