Health Care Reform Will Help Beneficiaries Save $5,000 Through 2022

Health Care Reform Will Help Beneficiaries Save $5,000 Through 2022

In 2012 alone,  5.5 million Medicare beneficiaries saved money on prescription drugs and 19 million got free preventive care due to the health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, between 2010-2022, the average beneficiary in Original fee-for-service Medicare will save $5,000, and people with Medicare who have high prescription drug costs will save much more – more than $18,000 – over the same period. These figures are according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also announced that, because of the health care law, more than 5.5 million seniors and people with disabilities saved nearly $4.5 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted.  Seniors in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole have saved an average of $641 in the first 8 months of 2012 alone.  This includes $195 million in savings on prescriptions for diabetes, over $140 million on drugs to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and $75 million on cancer drugs so far this year.  Also in the first 8 months of 2012, more than 19 million people with original Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost to them. See HHS’s recent press release for more details.

And, thanks to the ACA, insurance companies must now be more transparent and have stricter standards to ensure that money is re-invested back into consumers’ care versus just put into the companies’ profit margins. To date, the 80/20 rule, known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) has given over $1 billion of rebates back to the consumers, averaging about $151 per household.

In addition, nationwide trends are showing a slowing down in the growth of health care costs. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report (PDF), overall health care costs only grew 4% last year, the smallest amount in decades.

Health care reform is showing promising results and trends in just two short years since its implementation. Many additional cost-containing provisions aren’t to be implemented until 2014. With such positive results thus far, let’s keep health reform going and let it do it’s job.

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.

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