Average senior who hit doughnut hole saved $714 per year due to drug discounts
Madison – 12,637 Wisconsin participants in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program saw their drug costs reduced by $9,024,276 due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the first five months of 2012, according to new statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is an average of $714 per participant. Nationally, 745,412 seniors who hit the doughnut hole saved $485,259,051, an average of $651, during this same period.
“I’m thrilled to see the statistics once again bear out what we’ve been hearing from seniors across Wisconsin – that health reform is making prescription drugs more affordable,” said Leon Burzynski, president of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans.
The doughnut hole is a gap in the 2003-passed national drug program and without the correction by the ACA, seniors who had drug costs between $2,900 and $7,600 would have had to have paid 100 percent of the amount in that gap. The ACA provides a 50 percent discount on brand name prescriptions drugs and a 14 percent discount on generics within the gap, and by 2020 the donut hole will be closed completely.
During all twelve months of last year, 59,345 Wisconsin seniors saved $37.9 million due to these drug discounts while 3.6 million seniors nationwide saved $2.1 billion.
“Obamacare is making prescriptions drugs more affordable for seniors that have high drug costs in every single county across Wisconsin,” said Doug Hill, director of Know Your Care Wisconsin.
Over half of Medicare enrollees made less than $22,000 in 2010, and enrollees in general spend a disproportionate share of their income on health expenses. This means the ACA drug discounts are benefiting Medicare enrollees even more as a percentage of their income.
The ACA is more commonly known as health reform and sometimes as Obamacare. Besides the doughnut hole drug discounts, ACA also offers many preventive services for seniors without co-pay or deductible and extended the solvency of Medicare due to fighting waste and fraud and focusing on preventive care.