LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2013) — The federal health reform law has saved seniors and the disabled millions of dollars on their Medicare prescription-drug coverage, says the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
CMS said 65,040 Kentuckians have saved a total of $60.4 million in the first 10 months of 2013, an average of $928 per person in Medicare. CMS said Kentucky seniors have saved $180.9 million on the coverage, known as Part D, since the passage of the reform law.
Seniors will also be free to use more of their Social Security cost-of-living adjustment as they choose, because the Medicare Part B premium will not increase in 2014 as a result of the law’s cost restrictions, CMS noted. The deductible for standard Part D plans will decline by $15 in 2014, to $310.
The data also show that since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act took effect, more than 7.3 million seniors and people with disabilities who reached the prescription coverage gap, commonly known as the “donut hole,” have saved $8.9 billion on their prescription drugs, an average of $1,209 per person.
The “donut hole” is the gap in coverage after the basic coverage and before the catastrophic coverage takes effect. Without rebates authorized by the law, Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of prescription drugs once they hit the hole, until they incur enough expense to reach catastrophic coverage.
Next year, Medicare Part D participants in the donut hole will save about 53 percent on the cost of brand name drugs and 28 percent on the cost of generic drugs, CMS says. These savings and Medicare coverage are to gradually increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed.
Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.