As the health reform law approaches its third birthday, Obama Administration officials are noting that one of its provisions has already helped seniors on Medicare save $6.1 billion on their prescription drug costs.
Obamacare ensures that more prescription drugs are covered under Medicare by closing the “donut hole” coverage gap. Even as the cost of prescription drugs has continued to rise, the health law gives discounts to Medicare beneficiaries so seniors continue to be able to afford the medication they need — one of its most popular provisions. On Thursday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that more than 6.3 million Americans in the Medicare program have saved more than $6 billion on prescription drugs.
Since the Affordable Care Act first began phasing in reforms to Medicare’s drug coverage in 2010, the recorded savings for seniors have been steadily growing. And according to new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it won’t cost as much to close the donut hole’s coverage gap as initial estimates predicted. Ultimately, making drugs more affordable means that people will take them more regularly, ensuring seniors stay healthy and their medical costs are lower. In fact, the estimated 90 million Americans who don’t take their medications as directed represent the biggest root of wasteful health spending in the United States.
A full 90 percent of seniors with Medicare plans are satisfied with the prescription drug coverage they can access through the program, largely because of the savings they’re now experiencing. And those savings are likely to increase. This year, Obamacare increases Medicare’s prescription drug discounts to about 52 percent of the cost of most brand name drugs and 21 percent of the cost of covered generic drugs.