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A report released earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds that 65,729 Arizona Medicare beneficiaries saved $36,977,657 on their prescription drugs in 2011 thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This represents an average savings of $563. The report, available at http://1.usa.gov/wQ9sCk, projects the average person with Medicare will save nearly $4,200 by 2021 because of the new health care law.

Overall, 3.6 million Americans with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their prescription drugs in 2011 thanks to the law. More than 2 million women saved $1.2 billion on their prescription drugs.

We need to hear from those who predicted this law would doom seniors and working families. I’m glad to hear these savings are being passed on directly to Americans who need a break from high medical costs. We need to do more to achieve universal medical coverage, but no one could call this bad news for Arizona.

The savings are a product of provisions in the Affordable Care Act and other cost trends that:

• Decrease prescription drug costs for seniors

• Make preventive services like mammograms free for everyone in Medicare

• Reduce growth in Medicare Part B premiums (for physician services)

• Reduce growth in cost-sharing under both Parts A (hospital care) and Part B.

These announcements came one day after HHS announced that in 2012, Medicare Advantage premiums fell by 7 percent on average and enrollment has risen by about 10 percent since last year. For more details on that announcement, visit http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/02/20120201a.html. More state-by-state savings figures are available at http://www.cms.gov/Plan-Payment/.


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