December 17, 2013

Rhode Island Seniors Continue Benefitting from Health Care Law

Medicare Beneficiaries Saving on Prescription Drugs and Preventive Services

Washington, DC – As the holiday season nears, thousands of Rhode Island seniors will have a little extra money thanks to prescription drug savings made possible by the Affordable Care Act.  Through October of this year 10,600 Medicare recipients in Rhode Island saved over $7 million on prescription drugs, for an average savings of $677 per person.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, thousands of Rhode Island seniors fell into the so-called Medicare “doughnut hole” and were forced to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs.  In 2010, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse successfully fought to eliminate the doughnut hole as part of the Affordable Care Act, enabling the savings they are seeing today.

Additionally, new data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services today shows that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, in the first 11 months of 2013 alone, an estimated 25.4 million people with traditional Medicare – including 87,099 in Rhode Island – received at least one free preventive service at no out-of-pocket cost, such as an annual wellness visit or mammogram.

“Seniors who were hurt by the doughnut hole for years are now saving hundreds of dollars on their prescription drugs while also gaining access to free preventive services,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “These examples are further proof that the Affordable Care Act is making a real difference for Rhode Islanders.”

The doughnut hole used to expose seniors to the full cost of prescription drugs after they and their plan spent a certain amount of money ($2,970) for covered drugs in a year, but before they hit catastrophic coverage ($4,750).  The Affordable Care Act has been closing the doughnut hole in phases since it was enacted in 2010.

Click here to see how many people benefitted from these savings in your zip code last year.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, in 2011 and 2012 seniors in the doughnut hole received a 50% discount from the drug manufacturers on all brand name drugs.  Starting this year, the federal government is subsidizing an additional 2.5% of brand-name drug costs for seniors in the doughnut hole. These subsidies will increase each year until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921