February 11, 2016

Thousands of Rhode Island Seniors Save Over $60 Million from Health Care Law’s “Doughnut Hole” Fix Since 2010

Medicare Beneficiaries Save on Prescription Drugs and Preventive Services

Washington, DC – It’s big. Thousands of Rhode Island seniors have saved over $60.3 million since 2010 on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act, according to federal data released this week. In 2015, 15,785 Rhode Islanders on Medicare saved $14.4 million on their prescriptions, for an average savings of $912 per patient.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, thousands of Rhode Island seniors fell into the coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole,” and were forced to pay the full cost of their prescriptions. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse fought to eliminate the coverage gap as part of the Affordable Care Act, resulting in the savings seniors are experiencing today.

“Rhode Island seniors who had been hurt by the doughnut hole for years are now saving money on their prescription drugs and benefitting free preventive care services as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” said Whitehouse. “Whatever anyone may think about the Affordable Care Act, this has been a big and indisputable win for seniors.”

Another key provision of the Affordable Care Act made certain that preventive services such as annual screenings and mammograms were available at no out-of-pocket cost.  The new data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that over 92,000 Rhode Islanders have accessed at least one preventive service this past year.

In 2011, the Affordable Care Act provided Medicare recipients a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs and a 7 percent discount on generic drugs.  Under the health care law, the federal government will increase those discounts until the doughnut hole is completely closed in 2020. 


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