The Department of Health and Human Services recently released new information that shows that millions of seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare in California continue to save on prescription drugs and see improved benefits in 2015 as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Medicare beneficiaries in California have received discounts of $1,690,719,706 on prescription drugs since enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. In 2015 alone, 419,078 people with Medicare in California saved $437,630,655 – an average of $1,044 per Medicare beneficiary – thanks to the Affordable Care Act closing the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole.
Use of preventive services under the health care law has also expanded among people with Medicare.
In California, an estimated 3,725,303 people with Medicare (including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage) took advantage of at least one preventive service with no coinsurance in 2015.
Some 774,351 Medicare beneficiaries (including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage) in California took advantage of an Annual Wellness Visit in 2015.
Nationwide, nearly 10.7 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $20.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $1,945 per beneficiary – since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. In 2015 alone, nearly 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities received discounts of over $5.4 billion, for an average of $1,054 per beneficiary. This is an increase in savings compared to 2014, when 5.1 million Medicare beneficiaries received discounts of $4.8 billion, for an average of $941 per beneficiary.
Medicare beneficiaries also continue to take advantage of certain recommended preventive services with no coinsurance. An estimated 39.2 million people with Medicare (including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage) took advantage of at least one preventive service with no copays or deductibles in 2015, slightly more than in 2014. Nearly 9 million Medicare beneficiaries (including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage) took advantage of an Annual Wellness Visit in 2015. Looking just at original Medicare, a million more people utilized an Annual Wellness Visit in 2015 than 2014 (more than 5.8 million compared to nearly 4.8 million).
“Medicare consumers are now more engaged and empowered in their own health thanks to the Affordable Care Act,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “Millions are now able to access more affordable prescription medicine for their chronic conditions and millions more are staying healthier by accessing preventive services, especially vital for people living with disabilities or growing older.”
Monday’s announcement is part of the Administration’s broader strategy to improve the health care system by paying providers for what works, unlocking health care data, and finding new ways to coordinate and integrate care to improve quality. The Affordable Care Act provides tools – such as providing certain recommended preventive services at no cost sharing and closing the Medicare Part D “donut hole” – to make the health care system more affordable for patients and move it toward one that rewards doctors based on the quality, not the quantity of care they give patients.