Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a second annual report detailing how millions of seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare in Montana continued to experience lower costs on prescription drugs and improved benefits in 2012 thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Since the law's enactment, 6.1 million Americans with Medicare who reached the Part D coverage gap also known as the "donut hole," have saved over $5.7 billion on prescription drugs. Nationwide, drug savings of $2.5 billion in 2012 are higher than the $2.3 billion in savings for 2011. In Montana, people with Medicare saved over $16.3 million on prescription drugs since the law's enactment. In 2012 alone, 9,992 individuals in Montana saved over $6.5 million. In 2012, people with Medicare in the "donut hole" received a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 14 percent discount on generic drugs. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs will continue to increase over time until the coverage gap is closed.
The Affordable Care Act is also removing barriers for people with Medicare from accessing preventive services, many of which previously required cost-sharing for patients. In 2012, many recommended preventive services were offered to people with Medicare, with no deductibles or co-pays, meaning that cost is no longer a barrier for seniors and people with disabilities who want to stay healthy by detecting and treating health problems early. Use of preventive services has expanded among people with Medicare. In 2012 alone, an estimated 34.1 million people with Medicare benefited from Medicare's coverage of preventive services with no cost-sharing.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare program also performed well in several other areas in 2012:
Compared to 2011, people with Medicare continued to pay moderate premiums for Medicare Part B benefits, which cover outpatient care, doctors' services, lab tests, durable medical supplies, and other services.
Those who enrolled in Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans paid average premiums lower than what they paid in 2010, and they had access to a wide range of plan choices.
New techniques were implemented to detect, prevent and fight health care fraud.
New data shows that since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act 9,992 Medicare beneficiaries in Montana have saved over $6.5 million on prescription drugs
The Affordable Care Act makes prescription drug coverage (Part D) for people with Medicare more affordable. It does this by gradually closing the gap in drug coverage known as the "donut hole." For many people enrolled in Medicare Part D, the "donut hole" occurs after they and their plan spend a certain amount of money for covered drugs, but before they hit catastrophic coverage in which they are only responsible for a small percent of their drug costs. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, an individual in the "donut hole" had to pay the full costs of prescription drugs.
The Affordable Care Act is closing the "donut hole" over time; first, by providing a one-time $250 check to those that reached the "donut hole" in 2010, then by providing discounts on brand name drugs for those in the "donut hol