Seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) coverage saved nearly $9 billion to date on prescription drugs as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).


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CMS: Seniors saved $8.9 billion on Rxs due to ACA

November 27th, 2013

WASHINGTON – Seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) coverage saved nearly $9 billion to date on prescription drugs as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS said Tuesday that since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, more than 7.3 million seniors and people with disabilities who reached the "doughnut hole" coverage gap in their Medicare Part D 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 this year have saved $2.9 billion, an average of $866 per beneficiary, according to CMS. The agency noted that those 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 doughnut hole and high prescription drug costs is an important Affordable Care Act reform that Medicare beneficiaries have come to depend on," CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement. "Today's data shows that the law is already helping millions of seniors save billions of dollars off their needed medications."

Under the discount program in the Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, anyone with a Medicare PDP who reached the doughnut hole received a $250 rebate. And in 2011, beneficiaries entering the coverage began receiving discounts on covered brand-name drugs and savings on generic drugs.

Next year, Part D participants who enter the doughnut hole will get savings of about 53% on the cost of branded drugs and 28% on the cost of generics, CMS said, adding that those savings and Medicare coverage will gradually rise until 2020, when the coverage gap will be closed.

CMS also noted that seniors will be able to use more of their Social Security benefit cost-of-living adjustment on what they choose because, as result of the ACA, the Medicare Part B premium will not rise in 2014. In addition, the Part B deductible will also not increase, having declined in 2014. The Part B premium and deductible for 2014 are 15% below what was projected in 2010, when the ACA was enacted, the agency added.

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 four straight years. The deductible for standard Part D plans is slated to decline by $15 in 2014, to $310. And since the passage of the ACA, average MA premiums are down by 9.8%, CMS said..

The annual open enrollment period for Medicare health and drug plans began on Oct.15 and runs until Dec. 7.

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