December 22, 2011

It’s Still 3 Days Until Christmas, but Seniors in Pennsylvania Have Already Received Two Gifts that Keep on Giving

For Immediate Release

December 22nd, 2011                                                                                     

 

It’s Still 3 Days Until Christmas, but Seniors in Pennsylvania Have Already Received Two Gifts that Keep on Giving

The Affordable Care Act Saved Seniors Money and Kept Them Healthy in 2011

Looking back on data for 2011 compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, seniors in Pennsylvania have many reasons to be thankful for the Affordable Care Act.  Furthermore, seniors should be grateful that Republican efforts to repeal the law, and its many improvements to Medicare, were defeated earlier this year.  Let’s briefly review the “presents” that seniors have enjoyed so far this year.

The biggest “present” under the tree was the discount on prescription drugs for seniors in the Part D “doughnut hole”.  Not only does the Affordable Care Act make the “doughnut hole” smaller and smaller every year, but seniors also get a 50% discount on brand name drugs and a 7% discount on generics.  In Pennsylvania, over 177,000 seniors, who unfortunately fell into the “doughnut hole”, saved a total of over $109 Million through October 31st of 2011 through these discounts.  The average savings per beneficiary in Pennsylvania was $617.  Nationwide, 2.65 Million Americans saved over $1.5 Billion.

Additionally, Pennsylvania seniors received a “present” that helped them stay healthy.  Medicare beneficiaries can now access preventive services like cancer screenings without a co-pay.  They can also see their doctor for an annual Wellness Visit without paying a co-pay.  These new benefits help seniors maintain their quality of life, while also saving Medicare money in the long run.  Almost 957,000 seniors in Pennsylvania accessed at least one of these services as of the end of October this year.  That represents over 70% of all beneficiaries.  Nationally, 24.2 Million seniors took advantage of this new benefit.

More “presents” from the Affordable Care Act are on their way next year as well.  For starters, in 2012 the “doughnut hole” discounts and free preventative services will continue to help more and more seniors, with the generic discount doubling to 14%.  The “doughnut hole” itself will also shrink.  Additionally, thanks to savings in the program from the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will be reducing the Part B deductible by $22 next year.  Medicare is also projecting a 4% drop in premiums for Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage.

Jean Friday, President of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, had this to say on the subject: “We are lucky to have Medicare, but many Pennsylvania seniors still continue to struggle with their health care costs. As we approach the end of this year, it’s gratifying to know that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have already saved money on their out-of-pocket health care costs. In 2010, many politicians argued that the Affordable Care Act would be bad for seniors, but here we are, a year later, and the facts do not bear out that assertion. I hope that during the 2012 election cycle, we won’t hear those same tired attacks aimed at Senator Bob Casey or anyone else on the ballot. The evidence is in, and the Affordable Care Act has been, and will continue to be, good for Pennsylvania Seniors.”

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