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New data: Affordable Care Act delivers lower costs to more seniors with Medicare

Posted Sep 08 2011 1:01am

Nearly 1.3 million people with Medicare receiving discounts on prescription drugs;
18.9 million receiving preventive care

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that more seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare are seeing reduced costs for important health care -- through both discounts on brand-name drugs in the Medicare Part D "donut hole" coverage gap and free preventive care.

"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," said CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D. "These new benefits are encouraging patients to talk to their doctors about their care, and to get the preventive services they need.”

So far this year, over 18.9 million people enrolled in traditional Medicare have used preventive services with no cost to them. Many of these services will help prevent chronic diseases that can cost Medicare billions to treat. Also, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more Americans on Medicare are getting help affording prescription drugs -- nearly 1.3 million people have received a 50 percent discount on their brand name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole, saving a total of $660 million so far this year.

For people who hit the coverage gap (known as the “donut hole”):

  • 1.28 million have received discounts on brand-name drugs this year through the end of July, up from 899,000 through the end of June and 478,000 through the end of May;
  • These discounts have totaled $660 million in savings for seniors and people with disabilities so far this year; up from $462 million through June and $260 million through May;
  • Individuals who have received this discount saved an average of $517 so far this year.

For more information about how the Affordable Care Act closes the donut hole over time, please visit: http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11493.pdf

For state-by-state information on the number of people who are benefiting from this discount in 2011, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Plan-Payment/

In addition, today CMS announced that more seniors are taking advantage of preventive services, most of which are available at no cost to them:

  • 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.

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. In June, Medicare launched Share the News. Share the Health!, a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of prevention for people with Medicare and their health care providers. As part of the campaign, television and radio public service announcements are airing nationwide and regional events are being held around the country to make sure Medicare beneficiaries know that these services are available to them. CMS has reached out to doctors through a “Prevention Advisory,” and other health care provider-directed materials on Medscape, a respected website for continuing medical education.

For state-by-state information on utilization of free preventive services and the Annual Wellness Visit, please visit http://www.cms.gov/NewMedia/02_preventive.asp

For more information on Medicare’s Share the News. Share the Health! prevention campaign, go to http://www.medicare.gov/share-the-health/ or call 1-800-MEDICARE.


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