More Than $20 Billion Saved on Prescription Drugs Since 2010

Since the Affordable Care Act, $20.8 billion has been saved on prescription drugs at an average of $1945 per beneficiary.

New data released by the US Department of Health and Human Services showed that Medicare enrollees, including millions of people with disabilities and seniors, have saved billions on prescription drugs.

Since the Affordable Care Act, $20.8 billion has been saved on prescription drugs at an average of $1945 per beneficiary. Nearly 5.2 million people with disabilities and senior citizens received discounts of over $5.4 billion in 2015.

There was also an increase in savings compared with 2014, which had 5.1 million Medicare beneficiaries who received discounts of $4.8 billion at an average of $941 per beneficiary.

"Medicare consumers are now more engaged and empowered in their own health thanks to the Affordable Care Act," said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services acting administrator Andy Slavitt. "Millions are now able to access more affordable prescription medicine for their chronic conditions and millions more are staying healthier by accessing preventive services, especially vital for people living with disabilities or growing older."

Future goals the administration hopes to accomplish include 30% of Medicare payments devoted to quality and value through alternative payment models by 2016, and 50% by 2018.

In order to help reach these goals, the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network has more than 4,600 people registered, consisting of payers, providers, patients, employers, states, consumer groups, consumers, and other partners.

Medicare beneficiaries were also able to access recommended preventive services with no coinsurance.

Approximately 39.2 million people with Medicare, including enrollees in Medicare Advantage, took advantage of used at least one preventive service that carried no copays or deductibles in last year, which is a slight increase over 2014.

Health care reform has sought to improve the affordability of Medicare prescription drug coverage by gradually closing the coverage gap in which beneficiaries pay the full out of pocket cost for prescription drugs before catastrophic prescription coverage kicks in. This donut hole will be closed by 2020, according to CMS.

In 2010, individuals with a Medicare prescription drug plan who reached the donut hole received a $250 rebate on their prescriptions. In 2011, beneficiaries started to receive discounts on coverage for brand-name and generic drugs.

In 2016, Medicare Part D enrollees who fall in the coverage gap will receive discounts of 55% on the cost for brand name drugs and 42% on the cost of generic drugs.