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WASHINGTON – In 2011, 14,822 Rhode Island residents with Medicare saved a total of $8.2 million on their prescription-drug costs, thanks to the health care reform law, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The law has helped to close the Medicare prescription-drug coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole,” according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “As we move forward, we will close the doughnut hole completely and save even more money for everyone with Medicare.”
The doughnut hole exposes seniors to the full cost of prescription drugs after their yearly drug expenses exceed $2,930. Drug coverage doesn’t resume until total drug spending hits $6,657 for the year – a high threshold for seniors on low, fixed incomes. The health care reform law closes the doughnut hole over a 10-year period.
Nationwide, in 2011, 3.6 million Americans with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their prescription drugs as a result of changes implemented under health care reform, the agency said. The data showed that women especially benefited from the law’s provision, with more than 2 million American women saving $1.2 billion on their prescription drugs.
In 2012, the Affordable Care Act will provide a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs, as well as a 14 percent discount on generics. •