HHS highlights Medicare savings

By BenefitsPro

By Kathryn Mayer

The Obama administration is marking the third anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this week by touting its savings for Medicare patients.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday more than 6.3 million people with Medicare saved over $6.1 billion on prescription drugs because of health reform.

“By making prescription drugs more affordable, the Affordable Care Act is improving and promoting the best care for people with Medicare,” Sebelius said.

The PPACA makes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) more affordable by gradually closing the gap—known as the “donut hole”—in coverage where beneficiaries must pay the full cost of their prescriptions out of pocket.

People with Medicare in the donut hole now receive discounts when they purchase prescription drugs at a pharmacy or order them through the mail, until they reach the catastrophic coverage phase, HHS says. The PPACA gave those who reached the donut hole in 2010 a one-time $250 check, then began phasing in discounts and coverage for brand-name and generic prescription drugs beginning in 2011. The law will provide additional savings each year until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.

In 2013, the discounts and savings for most brand-name and covered generic drugs will be 52.5 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com