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Healthcare reform saved Floridians $142 million, feds say

Florida may be challenging the health care reform act in court, but 238,362 seniors and disabled persons in the state who participate in Medicare have saved nearly $142 million under provisions of the law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

Those 2011 savings are a product of provisions in the Affordable Care Act that decrease prescription drug costs, ensure that certain preventative services are free, reduce growth in premiums for health insurance and also reduce cost increases for hospital care, the federal government said.

Florida is among 26 states challenging the law backed by President Barack Obama, mostly by questioning the central issue of whether the federal government can require people to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, and oral arguments could start as soon as March.

Florida has also rejected millions of dollars in federal grants by refusing to implement certain provisions of the law.

Here is an excerpt from Thursday’s news release from HHS:

238,362 Florida residents with Medicare saved $141,948,339 on their prescription drugs in 2011 thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to data issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Savings for people with Medicare will increase over time. According to a new report issued today from HHS, the average person with Medicare will save nearly $4,200 by 2021 because of the new law.

“The Affordable Care Act is already saving money for millions of Americans with Medicare,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “As we move forward, we will close the donut hole completely and save even more money for everyone with Medicare.”
The Affordable Care Act provides a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs and this year, a 14% discount on generics. Last year, it provided a seven percent discount on covered generic medications for people who hit the prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole, with 2,814,646 beneficiaries receiving $32.1 million in savings on generics.

In 2011, the 238,362 residents of Florida who hit the donut hole saved an average of $596 on the cost of their prescription drugs.

Overall, 3.6 million Americans with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their prescription drugs in 2011 thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And data also show that women especially benefitted from the law’s provision with 2.05 million American women saving $1.2 billion on their prescription drugs.

By 2020, the donut hole will be closed completely.  The new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services finds that this provision and other features of the health reform law will generate substantial savings for people with Medicare. Typical Medicare beneficiaries will save an average of nearly $4,200 from 2011 to 2021. People with high prescription drug costs could save as much as $16,000.

Click here to learn more about the "donut hole" Medicare provisions and to see state-by-state numbers.