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HHS tallies Medicare Rx savings from health reform
February 2nd, 2012
WASHINGTON – Last year, the Affordable Care Act health care reform law saved 3.6 million people with Medicare $2.1 billion on their prescription drugs, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
HHS said that based on a new report issued Thursday by the department, the savings will rise over time, as the average person with Medicare will save nearly $4,200 by 2021 because of the new law.
"The Affordable Care Act is already saving money for millions of Americans with Medicare," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "As we move forward, we will close the doughnut hole [coverage gap] completely and save even more money for everyone with Medicare."
According to HHS, the Affordable Care Act provides a 50% discount on brand-name prescription drugs and this year will furnish a 14% discount on generic drugs. Last year, the law provided a 7% discount on covered generic medications for people who hit the prescription drug coverage gap (aka doughnut hole), with more than 2.8 million beneficiaries receiving $32.1 million in savings on generics.
In 2011, the 3.6 million Americans who hit the doughnut hole saved an average of $604 on the cost of their prescriptions, HHS reported. The department said its data also show that women, in particular, benefitted from the law's provision, with 2.05 million women saving $1.2 billion on their prescriptions.
The Medicare coverage gap is slated to be completely closed by 2020, HHS noted. The department's report found that this provision and other features of the health reform law will generate significant savings for people with Medicare. Typical Medicare beneficiaries will save an average of nearly $4,200 from 2011 to 2021, and people with high prescription drug costs could save as much as $16,000, according to HHS.