Providence, RI – In 2010, as part of the health care reform law (the Affordable Care Act), U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) helped lead the successful fight to end the Medicare Part D prescription drug “doughnut hole” which left thousands of Rhode Island seniors paying the total cost of their prescription drugs every year.
According to a recent report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 14,822 Rhode Islanders received prescription drug discounts as a result of the law in 2011, for a total savings of over $8.2 million.
This map illustrates the number of people helped and the total amount saved by zip code.
On this interactive map you can click on any of the red flags to see the following information for a zip code:
- Number of People that Benefitted from "Doughnut Hole" Fix
- Total Amount Saved in the Zip Code
- Average Savings Per Person
The nearly 15,000 Rhode Islanders who benefitted from the “doughnut hole” fix in 2011 are being invited to share their personal stories here.
“As I travel around the state, I've heard countless stories about Rhode Islanders affected by the dreaded Medicare Part D doughnut hole,” Whitehouse said. “Far too many seniors are forced to choose between taking their medication and putting food on the table or paying their bills. I’m pleased that so many Rhode Islanders received prescription drug discounts as a result of closing the doughnut hole, and I’m going to continue to fight to lower drug prices.”
The doughnut hole left thousands of seniors paying the full cost of prescription drugs after their yearly drug expenses exceeded $2,930. Drug coverage wouldn't resume until total drug spending hit $6,657 for the year – a high threshold for seniors on low, fixed incomes. The Affordable Care Act addresses this problem through prescription drug discounts for people affected by the doughnut hole. Those savings will continue increasing until 2020, when the Medicare Part D doughnut hole closes completely.
In 2010, all Medicare beneficiaries who were affected by the doughnut hole received a one-time payment of $250 to help offset the cost of their prescription drugs. Last year and this year, patients receive a 50 percent discount on all brand name drugs purchased while they are in the doughnut hole.
On average, Rhode Island seniors who fell into the doughnut hole in 2011 saved $554 on account of this law.