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HHS report showcases Medicare savings

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 15, 2010

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will lower prescription drug costs for seniors and make improvements to quality care, according to a report the Dept. of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation released Nov. 4.

The analysis shows that Medicare beneficiaries will see an average savings of more than $3,500 over the next 10 years, and that could reach as much as $12,300 for seniors and people with disabilities who have high prescription drug costs. The analysis noted that more than 1.8 million seniors enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan have received a one-time $250 rebate check this year to help them navigate a coverage gap in Part D, also known as the "doughnut hole."

Next year, beneficiaries in the doughnut hole will receive 50% discounts on covered brand name Part D prescription drugs. Total savings per beneficiary enrolled in traditional Medicare are estimated to be $86 in 2011, rising to $649 in 2020, the report found. For a beneficiary with spending in the doughnut hole, estimated savings increase from $553 in 2011 to $2,217 in 2020. Also starting in 2011, seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare will have access to certain preventive services and annual wellness visits at no additional costs.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/11/15/gvbf1115.htm.

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