A new report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms that the Medicare Part D drug discount included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working as intended and saving seniors’ money.
Before the passage of the act, seniors who were caught in the Medicare Part D coverage gap (known as the “donut hole”) often had to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs. These seniors now receive a 50% discount on all brand name drugs when they hit the coverage gap, as a result of the ACA. These discounts increase gradually until 2020, when the “donut hole” is completely closed.
The GAO report findings reveal that that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) implemented the program in a timely manner, establishing systems to ensure that seniors were provided with the required discounts. According to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, “The report shows how health reform is working to save seniors $4.8 billion and helping them afford their prescription drugs, closing the donut hole. We need to help seniors save every dollar they can and that’s exactly what the Affordable Care Act does – reducing seniors’ out-of-pocket costs while providing more benefits.”
At The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we agree that seniors should be able to access their medications without being forced to pay steep prices on brand name drugs. The CMS’s successful implementation of the ACA has improved the quality of life for many seniors and we commend the CMS for their swift implementation.
The full GAO report, “Medicare Part D Coverage Gap: Discount Program Effects and Brand-Name Drug Price Trends”, is available online here.
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