Written by K Kaufmann The Desert Sun
More than 460,000 California seniors on Medicare saved millions on their prescription medicines in 2011 under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
The California figures were part of a nationwide review of prescription benefits for Medicare patients last year that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released today.
With out the health care refrom law, more than 5.1 million seniors across the U.S. would have faced $3.2 billion in extra prescription costs, federal officials reported. Savings for 464,778 Medicare patients in California totaled $270.1 million, or about $581 per individual.
With the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act coming on March 23, the numbers highlighted the impact of the law’s provisions aimed at closing the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare prescription coverage.
The previous gap in Medicare drug coverage — between a patient’s initial coverage limit and the point where catastrophic coverage kicked in — left many with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.
The health care reform law was designed to gradually close that gap, with rebates and drug price discounts.