Regardless of which side you stand on when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, there is no denying that the intent to save seniors money was a good one.  The Affordable Care Act has made many changes to strengthen Medicare and provide stronger benefits to seniors, while slowing the growth of cost.

As a result, the projected average Medicare beneficiary savings in traditional Medicare will be approximately $3,500 over the next ten years. Beneficiaries who have high prescription drug spending will save as much as $12,300 over the next 10 years.  Medicare beneficiaries with low drug costs will save an average of $2,400 over 10 years.

One key feature that appealed to many Americans was the provision to close the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, often called the “donut hole,” lowering costs for beneficiaries who otherwise would be required to spend thousands of dollars out of their own pocket for their prescription drugs.

You may be curious to know just how much of these projected savings have been seen so far.

More than 5.2 million U.S. seniors and people with disabilities have saved $4 billion on prescription drugs since the Affordable Care Act was enacted.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that more than 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs in “doughnut hole” coverage gap for an average of $629 in savings in the first half of this year alone.

These savings are automatically applied to prescription drugs that people with Medicare purchase, after they hit the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, known as the doughnut hole. Since the law was enacted, seniors and people with disabilities have had several opportunities to save on prescription drugs.

In 2010, people on Medicare who hit the doughnut hole received a one-time $250 rebate totaling $946 million for that year.  In 2011, people with Medicare began receiving a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 7 percent coverage of generic drugs in the doughnut hole.  Medicare coverage for generic drugs in the coverage gap rose to 14 percent for the first half of 2012.

While the
Affordable Care Act may not be agreed on by all, it’s intentions for seniors are good.