By PBN Staff
By PBN Staff
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island seniors and disabled persons with Medicare prescription drug plan coverage saved $9.9 million, or an average of $709 per person, on their prescription drugs in 2013 through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare discount program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported last week.
In total, 13,998 beneficiaries of Medicare in Rhode Island have saved $31.3 million since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the CMS said, contributing to $9.9 billion in Medicare savings nationwide.
In Massachusetts, 67,514 Medicare beneficiaries saved $55.6 million, or an average of $823 per person, last year, with total savings of $156.7 million since the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we saw a stronger Medicare program in 2013,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Seniors are saving billions of dollars on their needed medications and continuing to enjoy benefits that will lead to healthier lives and lower costs in the long run.”
Under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare Coverage Gap Discount Program, companies that manufacture brand-name prescription drugs must sign agreements with Medicare requiring the companies to offer discounts on brand-name drugs to people who have reached the “doughnut hole,” to a gap in the Medicare prescription-drug benefit before catastrophic coverage for prescriptions takes effect.
In 2014, the CMS said, Medicare Part D beneficiaries who fall into the doughnut hole will receive savings of about 53 percent on the cost of brand-name drugs and 28 percent on the cost of generic drugs. The amount beneficiaries pay will decrease each year until the gap is effectively closed in 2020.
“The Medicare doughnut hole hit seniors hard for years,” said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in a release lauding the impact of the Affordable Care Act. “Now they’re saving hundreds of dollars on their prescriptions, and gaining access to free preventive services they used to have to pay for. The Affordable Care Act is making a big difference to Rhode Island seniors.”