Despite the fact that the cost of brand name drugs has skyrocketed over the past few years, one Obamacare provision is helping seniors on Medicare save billions on their prescription drug costs.
Over the summer, data from the Centers for Medicare And Medicaid Services (CMS) showed that the Affordable Care Act had already saved 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities nearly $4 billion on their prescriptions by closing the “donut hole” coverage gap and ensuring that more prescription drugs are covered under Medicare. And today, the Obama Administration announced that their updated data shows seniors’ savings have now surpassed $5 billion, as nearly 2.8 million Americans have saved an average of $677 on their prescription medications so far this year.
And recent figures from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) suggest that the cost of closing the donut hole and extending coverage for additional prescription drugs won’t be as high as initial estimates predicted. Making drugs more affordable means that more people will take their medication, ultimately saving the government money in the long run by stabilizing their medical conditions and reducing medical costs. Taking that into account, the CBO’s report estimates that the net cost of closing the donut hole will actually be $51 billion — significantly less than the previous $86 billion estimate.
Largely thanks to the increasing savings that Obamacare ensures, a full 90 percent of seniors with Medicare plans report that they are satisfied with their prescription drug coverage under the program. And the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that those savings are likely to continue through the next decade, as the Affordable Care Act will help the average American with a traditional Medicare plan save $5,000 between 2010 and 2022.