In a news release issued August 6, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that the basic premiums for Medicare prescription drug plans are projected to remain constant in 2013, at an average of $30 per month. This will be the third straight year of no premium increases for beneficiaries of Medicare basic prescription drug coverage.
“Premiums are holding steady and, thanks to the health care law [which some call "Obamacare"], millions of people with Medicare are saving an average of over $600 each year on their prescription drugs,” Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the news release.
The projection for the 2013 average Medicare premium for prescription drugs is “based on bids submitted by drug and health plans for basic coverage during the 2013 benefit year, and calculated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary,” HHS said.
“The upcoming annual enrollment period — which begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7, 2012 – allows people with Medicare, their families and their caregivers to choose their plans for next year by comparing their current coverage and quality ratings to other plan offerings. New benefit choices are effective Jan. 1, 2013,” HHS announced.
In the same release HHS credited the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature Health Care Law, with saving significant out-of-pocket costs on prescription drugs for seniors and people with disabilities who are on Medicare. HHS noted that “since the law was enacted, seniors and people with disabilities have saved $3.9 billion on prescription drugs as the Affordable Care Act began closing the “donut hole” coverage gap.”
“Because of the Affordable Care Act, out-of-pocket savings on medications for people with Medicare continue to grow,” Secretary Sebelius said in the release.
“In the first half of 2012, over 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs, averaging $629 per person this year,” according to HHS.
“As a result of the Affordable Care Act, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the coverage gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will be fully closed. This year, people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 14 percent coverage of generic drugs in the donut hole. In 2013, Medicare Part D’s coverage of brand name drugs will begin to increase, meaning that people with Medicare will receive a total of 52.5 percent off the cost of brand name drugs (a 50 percent discount and an additional 2.5 percent in coverage) and coverage for 21 percent of the cost of generic drugs in the donut hole,” HHS stated.
See the August 6, 2012 HHS News release in its entirety on HHS.gov.
For more information on how the Affordable Care Act closes the Medicare drug benefit donut hole, visit: HealthCare.gov.
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- News on Health Care Reform;
- Editorials: What Needs Improvement, With Your Comments;
- Advocacy: Proposals for Reform, With Your Comments;
- Legislation: Pending & Recently Adopted; and
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