Billion with a B: Health Care Law Saves Medicare Enrollees $3.7 BillionPosted June 25th, 2012 by Thao Nguyen
By Dania Palanker, Senior Advisor
The health care law is saving money for seniors.
Let me reword that.
The health care law is saving a lot of money for seniors.
By a lot, I mean $3.7 billion in savings for seniors and people with disabilities in Medicare. Yes, that is billion with a b. Those billions of dollars are being saved because the health care law is reducing and ultimately eliminating the donut hole in Medicare Part D that left seniors with a gap in prescription drug coverage.
In 2010, almost 4 million people in Medicare received a rebate up to $250 for prescription drug costs. Starting in 2011, people with Medicare drug coverage began receiving a discount of 50% on brand name drugs while in the donut hole. That discount will increase each year so that, by 2020, the donut hole will be completely eliminated.
The average savings this year is $651. That $651 that may be the difference between deciding which prescription is the most important to get filled. $651 may pay for one month’s rent. Or $651 might buy tickets for the grandchildren to come visit their grandmother. Or hey, $651 could even buy 65 packs of doughnut holes.*
These billions of dollars are important to women who make up more than half of all Medicare beneficiaries and suffer from more chronic conditions than men. Women are more likely benefiting from these new savings since 64% of Medicare beneficiaries that hit the donut hole are women.
*We recommend you speak with your health care professional before eating 65 packs of doughnut holes.