Medicare Recipients Save $5 Billion On Prescriptions Because Of Health Care Law

Additional value possible with plan options during Open Enrollment period

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As the final week of Medicare Open Enrollment approaches, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that savings on prescription drugs made possible by the Affordable Care Act reached $5.1 billion. More than 5.8 million people with Medicare have benefited from the assistance the health care law provides with the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole. In the first 10 months of 2012 alone, almost 2.8 million individuals have saved an average of $677 on prescription drugs. During the same period, about 23.4 million people with original Medicare received one or more preventive services at no cost to them, with 2.5 million having received an Annual Wellness Visit.

“The health care law is saving money for people with Medicare,” Sebelius said. “Everyone with Medicare should look at their health and drug plan options for additional value before the Medicare open enrollment period ends this week.”

For 2013 the health care law provides people with Medicare in the donut hole with greater savings, as discounts rise to 53 percent of the cost of brand name drugs and 21 percent of the cost of generic drugs. Savings on Medicare coverage of prescription drugs will gradually increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed.

Because of the health care law, people with Medicare can be healthier with free access (no deductible or co-pay) to many preventive services. Before 2011, people with Medicare had to pay part of the cost for many preventive services. Cost is no longer a barrier for seniors who want to stay healthy and treat problems early. In 2011, an estimated 32.5 million people with original Medicare or Medicare Advantage received one or more free preventive benefits.

During Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, people with Medicare should compare costs, benefits and quality of Medicare health and drug plans to find the best value for 2013. People with Medicare should regularly examine their health care choices because individuals’ unique health needs as well as their health or prescription drug plan can change from year to year. Those who make their coverage elections by Dec. 7, 2012, will ensure new coverage can begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2013. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) encourages people with Medicare to enroll in high quality plans and get the most value for their premiums. Medicare health and prescription drug plans with five-star ratings may continuously market and enroll beneficiaries throughout 2013. Medicare beneficiaries in consistently low performing plans (those receiving less than three-star ratings for at least the past three years) have been notified about their plan’s poor performance and how they can switch to a higher quality plan.

Additionally, earlier this month, CMS announced that individuals with Medicare who are affected by Hurricane Sandy and unable to make a plan selection by Dec. 7, 2012, can still enroll in health and prescription drug coverage for 2013 by calling 1-800-MEDICARE anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

People who are satisfied that their current coverage under original Medicare or a Medicare health or drug plan meets their needs for next year, do not need to take any action to continue their current coverage.

Comments

ALLAN SIMS 2 years ago

Boy, that sounds great, doesn’t it? Just keep in mind a few things.

First, the government is the most inefficient organization in the United States.

Second, what they are yelling “free” about is (In this instance) mostly free to folks that could certainly use it. But, keeping my first comment above in mind, consider how much extra cost this free stuff is costing all of us, including the ones that are benefiting.

Third, being close to needing these benefits myself, you’d think I wouldn’t cut my nose off to spite my face. However, truth is truth, and this article doesn’t approach it. It is half-truth which is worse than a flat out lie.

Fourth, keep in mind that Department Secretaries never used to issue public announcements like this. This is propaganda. The kind to say ‘Look at us, we really do have your best interests at heart, don’t we?’ And, ‘Aren’t we a benevolent government?’

So then, ‘we’, the public at large, just gobble it up, like pets that dance up and down, impatient for what our masters give us, next. Our government pretends to provide our selfish wants; and like dutiful pets, we lap it up wondering how else our masters can please us. Just as masters look to their pets, these pandering masters of our masses, become gods that we look to for our daily needs.

Fifth, I wonder how much of your pocket change it will ultimately cost to provide this ‘free’ stuff? I speak of not just medicine (For it is but an example), but of all the other ‘stuff’ they want to give us. I’m surprised Obama doesn’t walk around in a Santa Claus suit.

BTW, they are haggling right now on just how much of your money to take for all this ‘free’ stuff.

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