Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wisconsin Seniors Saved $38 Million With Health Reform

Average senior who hit donut hole saved $639 per year due to drug discounts

Madison, WI – Over 59,300 Wisconsin participants in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program saw their drug costs reduced by $38 million due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2011, according to new statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is an average of $639 per participant. Nationally, 3.6 million Americans who hit the donut hole saved $2.1 billion, or an average of $604.

The donut hole is a gap in the 2003-passed national drug program and without the correction by the ACA, seniors who had drug costs between $2,900 and $7,600 would have had to have paid 100 percent of the amount in that gap. The ACA provides a 50 percent discount on brandname prescriptions drugs and a 14 percent discount on generics within the gap, and by 2020 the donut hole will be closed completely.

“I’m thrilled to see the statistics bear out what we’ve been hearing from seniors across Wisconsin – that health reform is making prescription drugs more affordable,” said Leon Burzynski, President of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans.

Over half of Medicare enrollees made less than $22,000 in 2010, and enrollees in general spend a disproportionate share of their income on health expenses. This means the ACA drug discounts are benefiting Medicare enrollees even more as a percentage of their income.

The ACA is more commonly known as health insurance reform. Besides the donut hole drug discounts, ACA also offers many preventive services for seniors without co-pay or deductible and also extended the solvency of Medicare due to fighting waste and fraud and focusing on preventive care.

The original release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can be found at http://www.dhhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/02/20120202a.html. County and zip code-specific breakdowns of the information can be found at http://www.cms.gov/Plan-Payment/. More on the Affordable Care Act at www.healthcare.gov.