Part D Costs Decreasing for Beneficiaries & Access to Services Increasing

The basic premium for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan will be about $30 in 2012, according to CMS Administrator  Donald Berwick, M.D.   This is a decrease of about a dollar from 2011. This reduction is a result of competition, transparency and more generic drugs becoming available, said  Berwick on a conference call on August 4.

Through the end of June, 899,000 Americans with Medicare have benefited from the 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs in the Medicare Part D donut hole provided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), HHS stated.

The dollar amount of these out-of-pocket savings on drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries has risen to $461 million saved through June 2011 — up from $260 million through May 2011, meaning beneficiaries in the donut hole saved over $200 million in the month of June alone, according to HHS.

Beneficiaries accessing PPACA preventive services

From January 1, 2011, to July 2011, a little more than 17 million people  — or 51.5 percent of individuals  with original Medicare —  received one or more free preventive services authorized by the PPACA.  During the same time period, roughly 1 million Americans with original Medicare have taken advantage of Medicare’s new Annual Wellness Visit, up from 780,000 in mid-June,  according to HHS.

“The Affordable Care Act is delivering on its promise of better health care for people with Medicare,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “People with Medicare who hit the donut hole are paying less for their prescription drugs, 17 million Americans have received free preventive services and prescription drug premiums will remain low. These are important steps that are making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans right now.”