Seniors and people with disabilities in the Medicare Part D doughnut hole have saved more than $5.7 billion on prescription medications since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) started closing the gap in January 2011, according to a new CMS report released February 7.
In 2012, more than 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries in the Part D doughnut hole saved $2.5 billion, or an average of $706 per beneficiary. Last year’s savings were higher than the savings in 2011 of $2.3 billion.
Also in 2012, an estimated 34.1 million Medicare beneficiaries received one or more preventive services with no cost sharing. Under ACA, many preventive services are offered at no cost to Medicare beneficiaries.
“Cost is no longer a barrier for seniors and people with disabilities who want to stay healthy by detecting and treating health problems early,” according to the report, The Affordable Care Act: A Stronger Medicare Program.
Under ACA’s Medicare Coverage Gap Discount Program, the Part D doughnut hole is steadily narrowing until it’s closed in 2020. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced a partnership with major pharmacies in August 2012 to inform Medicare patients about the free preventive services and the gradual closing of the coverage gap.