In a briefing released on September 8, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported statistics showing that the Affordable Care Act has so far saved Millions of Dollars in prescription drug costs and preventive care for seniors and people with disabilities who are on Medicare.
According to the CMS report, about 1.3 million people have received a 50% discount on their brand name prescriptions provided to them under the Affordable Care Act after they hit the so-called “donut hole” in coverage that existed under previous law. This has resulted in $660 Million in savings for Medicare beneficiaries so far this year alone, an average savings of about $517 per person.
In addition, so far in 2011, over 18.9 million people on traditional Medicare have used the free preventive health services available to them under the Affordable Care Act. “Many of these services will help prevent chronic diseases that can cost Medicare billions to treat,” according to the CMS release.
“Today’s news confirms that the Affordable Care Act is saving money for millions of seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in Medicare,” CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D. said in the CMS release. “These new benefits are encouraging patients to talk to their doctors about their care, and to get the preventive services they need.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, people with Original Medicare can receive recommended preventive benefits and a new Annual Wellness Visit without paying a co-payment or any cost-sharing.
CMS announced the following statistics, showing that more seniors are taking advantage of the free preventive services made available to them by the Affordable Care Act:
- 18,907,851 people with Original Medicare, or 55.6 percent of those enrolled in the program, received one or more free preventive services this year, through the end of August;
- During the same time period, 1,295,373 Americans with Original Medicare have taken advantage of the new Annual Wellness Visit, up from 1.06 million through the end of July and 780,000 through mid-June.
To help seniors become aware of and understand the free preventive services available to them under the Affordable Care Act, CMS launched a Share the News. Share the Health! campaign in June, “to raise awareness about the importance of prevention for people with Medicare and their health care providers.”
The campaign provides online consumer information to Medicare beneficiaries on the new preventive health benefits available to them free under the Affordable Care Act, as well as nationwide public service announcements on television and radio, regional events, and “prevention advisory” materials made available to health care providers (via Medscape, an online medical education provider), in an effort to help educate Medicare beneficiaries and their doctors about the free preventive health services now available to them under the Affordable Care Act.
For more information about how the Affordable Care Act closes the “donut hole” over time, see: Closing the Coverage Gap— Medicare Prescription Drugs Are Becoming More Affordable
For state-by-state information on the number of people who are benefiting from this prescription drug discount in 2011, see: Overview – Coverage Gap Discount Program
For state-by-state information on utilization of free preventive services and the Annual Wellness Visit, please visit Beneficiaries Utilizing Free Preventive Services by State, Year-to-Date 2011
For more information on Medicare’s Share the News. Share the Health! prevention campaign, go to The CMS Share the News. Share the Health! website or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
See also the HelpingYouCare™ resource pages on Financial Issues for Seniors & Caregivers: Planning & Paying For Care, including
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