Posted: Jul 25, 2012 8:30 AM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News
WASHINGTON, DC- Federal officials say reforms in prescription drug coverage have saved Montanans more than $11-million in the past couple of years.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released those figures Wednesday from an analysis of the savings that have been realized since the Affordable Health Care Act became law.
CMS reports during the first half of this year alone, more than 2700 Medicare patients saved a total of $1.7 million on prescription drugs thanks to closing the so-called "donut hole" gap in coverage. That works out to an average savings of $641 for each individual this year.
And the savings are extending to the use of so-called "generics" as well. CMS says this year, Medicare coverage for generic drugs in the coverage gap has risen to 14 percent. For the first six months of the year, people with Medicare in Montana have saved $1,755,675.
"Millions of people with Medicare have been paying less for prescription drugs thanks to the health reform law," said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. "Seniors and people with disabilities have already saved close to $4 billion nationwide. In 2020, the donut hole will be closed thanks to the Affordable Care Act."
These savings are automatically applied to prescription drugs that people with Medicare purchase, after they hit the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap or "donut hole." Since the law was enacted, seniors and people with disabilities have had several opportunities to save on prescription drugs.
Coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will be closed.