Congressman Eliot Engel said that Medicare recipients saved $5 billion nationwide -- over $364 million in New York State -- on prescription drugs as a result of provisions within the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Rep. Engel is an enthusiastic supporter of the ACA, and is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health. The details of the ACA savings were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The savings come from the closing of the coverage gap known as the "donut hole." In the first 10 months of 2012 alone, 178,032 individuals in New York have saved an average of $714 on prescription drugs. During the same period, about 1,364,835 people with original Medicare in New York received one or more preventive services at no cost to them, with 159,844 having received an Annual Wellness Visit.
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.
"The good news is that the Affordable Care Act has already made a difference in the lives of seniors who previously had to pay astronomical prices for essential medicines. The Affordable Care Act has been effective and vital for hard-working Americans -- thanks to the closing of the donut hole, the elimination of coverage gaps and denials for pre-conditions, the allowance of young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents' plans, covered preventative services, and others. As time goes by, I am hopeful additional real savings will be implemented, and the rabid opposition from some corners will be viewed in a new, unfortunate light," said Rep. Engel.