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Tue Dec 4, 2012, 06:24 PM

HHS: Health Law Changes To Medicare Drug Program Saved Seniors $5B


The administration announces that almost 2.8 million people have saved an average $677, because the law is closing the prescription drug doughnut hole.

USA Today: Medicare Beneficiaries Reach $5 Billion In Drug Savings

Since passage of the health care overhaul two years ago, 5.8 million Medicare patients have saved $5 billion from prescription drug discounts, and the government can now predict lower health care costs based on increased use of these cheaper drugs (Kennedy, 12/3).

The Hill: HHS: Obama Health Law Saved Seniors $5B On Prescription Drug Costs

The Obama administration on Monday touted the healthcare law for saving people on Medicare $5.1 billion on prescription drugs. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department said almost 2.8 million people have saved an average of $677 on their medications so far this year. The release coincided with the final week of Medicare Open Enrollment a period that ends Friday (Viebeck, 12/3).

Meanwhile, the nonpartisan CBO has released a study looking at the link between prescription costs and other medical services.

Medpage Today: More Rx Drug Use Tied To Lower Health Costs

A 1 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled causes Medicare spending to drop by roughly 0.2 percent, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated. ... a growing body of published evidence shows a link between changes in prescription drug use and spending for medical services, the CBO said in the report, which was published late last week. The new calculation may have a slight impact on negotiations now going on in Washington to avert the "fiscal cliff" -- the combination of tax increases and spending cuts due to become effective Jan. 1 if nothing is done. The CBO's mission is to calculate the potential savings generated by proposed legislation, including the bills now being discussed by Washington budget hawks (Pittman, 12/3).

Medicare beneficiaries reach $5 billion in drug savings

(emphases my own)

[font size="3"]In 2012, Medicare coverage ends when total prescription costs top $2,930. Drugmakers participating in Medicare agreed to give the government a 50% discount on premium drugs and 14% on generic drugs as part of the health care law, and to extend those discounts to seniors who have exhausted their coverage and are forced to pay for the drugs themselves.[/font]

Because of these discounts, in the first 10 months of 2012, Medicare beneficiaries saved $1.86 billion on prescription drugs, compared with $1.51 billion in the first 10 months of 2011, according to HHS. The last months of the year tend to have higher savings as people run out of coverage and enter the doughnut hole.

The Congressional Budget Office announced an added benefit Thursday: Cheaper drugs means more people taking their medication, reducing long-term medical costs. When Medicare patients take an antibiotic to prevent further infection, or properly take their insulin or hypertension medications, they save the government money in the long run by stabilizing their illnesses and preventing emergency hospitalizations.

"Using the revised methodology, CBO estimates that the net cost of implementing the provisions closing the coverage gap will be $51 billion, rather than the $86 billion estimated prior to the revision," the CBO report states.

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Reply HHS: Health Law Changes To Medicare Drug Program Saved Seniors $5B (Original post)
Bill USA Dec 2012 OP
Freddie Dec 2012 #1

Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 08:24 PM

1. Saved my folks about $2000 last year

Both have multitudes of prescriptions. Thank you Mr. President!!

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