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Capps Highlights Cost Savings for California Medicare Beneficiaries

Congresswoman says reform law helps seniors access and afford health-care services

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday highlighted new data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that shows how seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare in California are benefiting from the health care law this year.

Starting in January 2011, Medicare beneficiaries in the Part D “donut hole” became eligible for a 50 percent discount on name-brand drugs, free preventive services such as mammograms, and annual wellness visit. Thanks to the implementation of these new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions, Medicare beneficiaries have saved more than $127 million in important health care services.

“The bottom line is that the health care law is working for California’s seniors,” Capps said. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, nearly 2 million Medicare beneficiaries in California were able to access preventive health care without a co-pay this year, helping to ensure that seniors get the care that they need while still being able to pay the bills. And, seniors in prescription drug ‘donut hole,’ who for too long were forced to make difficult decisions to afford their medications, saved over $127 million on their prescriptions.”

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans are receiving free preventive services and getting cheaper prescription drugs,” Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said.

Data show that as of the end of October, 2.65 million people nationwide with Medicare have saved more than $1.5 billion on their prescriptions — averaging about $569 per person. In California, 245,097 people with Medicare have saved $127,552,274 — averaging about $520 per person.

And, as of the end of November, more than 24.2 million people with Medicare have taken advantage of at least one free preventive benefit — including the new annual wellness visit — made possible by the Affordable Care Act. In California, 1,962,809 people with Medicare have taken advantage of the free preventive coverage.

Building on savings in 2011, Medicare also recently announced that the Part B deductible will be $22 lower in 2012, and average Medicare Advantage premiums are projected to drop 4 percent in 2012. Part B premiums, which cover outpatient services including doctor visits, are estimated to increase by only $3.50 per month for most beneficiaries in 2012, and some will see a decrease. These changes will be more than offset by the average Social Security cost-of-living increase ($43 per month for retired workers).

Click here for more information about how the Affordable Care Act closes the donut hole over time. For more information on Medicare’s prevention benefits, click here or call 800.MEDICARE.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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