Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Senior Democrat on the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health and a primary author of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), today announced Medicare beneficiaries in New Jersey have saved $198,051,968 on their prescription drugs since 2010, and $64,480,926 since January 2012, an average of $829 per patient so far this year. The savings are made possible by the Affordable Care Act, which provides discounts on prescription drugs to seniors who fall in the Medicare Part D "donut hole.'
The Affordable Care Act currently provides a 50 percent discount to Medicare beneficiaries on brand-name drugs when they fall into the "donut hole" coverage gap. The discounts will gradually increase until the donut hole is fully closed in 2020. In addition, Medicare beneficiaries are now eligible for free key preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies, and a free annual wellness visit as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In the first seven months of 2012, 648,260 Medicare beneficiaries in New Jersey took advantage of one or more free preventive service.
"Millions of seniors in New Jersey and across the country with Medicare are already seeing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, whether through savings on their prescription drugs or access to preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies free of charge," said Pallone. "Clearly, the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare and we must protect these important benefits so our seniors receive quality, affordable health care."
Nationally, nearly 5.4 million seniors have saved more than $4.1 billion on prescription drugs as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, an estimated 32.5 million people with traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage across the country received one or more preventive benefits free of charge, and in 2012 alone 18 million people have received at least one free preventive service.
"With the economy struggling and so many seniors living on fixed incomes, these prescription drugs savings are critical to helping our seniors stay healthy. The Affordable Care Act will continue to improve Medicare in the years ahead as more benefits are available and the "donut hole' is completely closed," added Pallone.