ACA has another good year with prescription drug savings and preventive care

Medicare beneficiaries continued to see savings as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) in 2015. Since 2010, when the health law was enacted, almost 11 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts totaling over $20.8 billion on prescription drugs. Additionally, in 2015 an estimated 39.2 million people with Medicare took advantage of preventive services made possible through the ACA.

Prescription drugs

The ACA’s efforts to narrow Medicare Part D’s “donut hole” continued to show promise in 2015. The outlook is promising for plans to close the coverage gap by 2020. Under the ACA, individuals who are in the donut hole in 2016 will receive discounts of 55 percent on the cost of brand name drugs and 42 percent of the cost of generics. The total savings of the ACA’s measures to close the donut hole have saved an average of $1,945 per beneficiary since 2010. The impact of the discounts varies somewhat among the states, but, across the board, the results are significant.

Preventive services

The ACA also took steps to incentivize the use of preventive services by adding coverage of an annual wellness visit and eliminating coinsurance and the Part B deductible for certain Medicare preventive services, including many cancer screenings. While 39.2 million benefited from the increased access to preventive screenings in 2015, an increase from the previous year, another 9 million Medicare beneficiaries took advantage of the annual wellness visit in 2015.