Medicare Recipients Saved $4.5 Billion on Prescriptions

Seniors on Medicare health insurance, which they receive at age 65, have saved more than $4.5 billion since the new provisions in the healthcare law took place in 2010, according to the Department of Health.

Previously, seniors with Medicare had experienced something called the "doughnut hole" where, just like the hole in a doughnut, there was a hole in reimbursements for medications during certain periods of their Medicare coverage, depending upon the type of medications and the dollar amount and their deductibles.  Yes our lawmakers had actually passed legislation that had such wacky reimbursements that it mirrored a doughnut - you were in the hole or out of the hole but it was very complicated to understand when you would be in the "hole' and not have prescription medications paid for by Medicare.

I participated in a focus group that was paid for by the Department of Health to find out if the prescription coverage with the donut hole was confusing - and everyone agreed it was extremely confusing.   Fortunately, the law was changed.  Drug companies do spend millions of dollars lobbying for Medicare coverage to go their way and that is what they even admitted happened to create the donut hole.

"We're seeing consistent, steady savings for seniors thanks to the health care law," said Jon Blum, director of the Center for Medicare. "In just 21/2 half years, seniors have seen billions in savings, and those savings will continue to grow as the doughnut hole is fully closed."

Drugmakers participating in Medicare agreed to give the government a 50% discount on premium drugs and 14% on generic drugs as part of the law, and the government passed those savings on to seniors.  In 2012, the coverage gap - or "doughnut hole" - is $2,930. The law eliminates that gap by 2020. So far, no research has shown that the drugmakers have passed costs from those discounts on to other consumers, as some opponents of the law had feared.

Clinical trials are another option for seniors, allowing those seniors who qualify based on their medical conditions, to participate in a drug study on new medications and to receive care and monitoring from the medical doctors who are administering the clinical trials.  Every medication on the market in the U.S.A. today was once part of a Clinical Trial study in order to be approved for sale by the FDA.

Check out Clinical Trials near you to see if you qualify for one of these drug studies for newer medications which may deliver positive results.


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