Carmel, CA Health Care Reform Saved Seniors $629 Each Last Yearby Richard Kuehn on 07/27/12
There has been much debate about the health care reform laws that President Obama is trying to implement and I believe there are good parts and bad parts of the legislation. Good news for seniors, however, was released this week. The Center for Medicare announced that during the first six months of the year, seniors saved $687 million because of the change in the way they pay for drugs during the so called "doughnut hole" (when seniors have to pay for their own medications). That's an average of $629 each, and it's because drug makers participating in the program had to give the government a 50% discount on premium drugs and 14% on generics, all of which was passed on to seniors. In 2012, the coverage gap is $2,930 but this will gradually decline and be reduced to zero by 2020. "More people are benefiting from the discounts than at this point last year," Jonathan Blum, director of the Center for Medicare told USA Today. "As seniors across the country go to their pharmacies to fill prescriptions, they will automatically receive these discounts and see lower prices at the cash register," he said. I'm glad to hear it. Many seniors are reporting they can't even afford to go to the doctor because of the high price of gas and increasing out-of-pocket costs for medical care. $629 per person is a significant amount of money. There are pundits who think this is not a good idea, and I completely disagree with them. A conservative think tank called the American Action Form said reducing prices for Medicare beneficiaries would raise drug costs for everyone else. But they have no basis to make this claim. Only time will tell.