Oklahoma Medicare patients save $29 million in prescription drug costs
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Friday, February 08, 2013
2/08/13 at 6:12 AM
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Oklahoma Medicare patients saved more than $29 million on prescription drug costs last year - an average of $577 each - because of reforms in the Affordable Care Act, according to a federal report released Thursday.
The federal health-care law makes Medicare's Part D drug coverage more affordable by gradually closing the so-called "donut hole," uncovered costs above the coverage level of basic Part D coverage and below catastrophic drug coverage.
Before the Affordable Care Act, Medicare recipients were responsible for 100 percent of prescription drug costs in that range.
The law gradually eliminates the gap by providing progressively larger discounts for name-brand and generic drug purchases.
Since the law's enactment, 6.1 million Americans with Medicare who reached the donut hole have saved more than $5.7 billion on prescription drugs - $2.5 billion last year, according to the report.
In Oklahoma, the 2012 savings were lower than the 2011 savings, which were $30.2 million.
A total of 50,305 older and disabled Oklahomans received the discounts in 2012, according to the report.
The Affordable Care Act is also making preventive services, including many cancer screenings and annual wellness visits, have no out-of-pocket cost to the patient, the report says.
Before the law many of the services came with co-pays or deductibles.
Some 366,752 Medicare Part B patients got no- co-pay preventive services in 2012, including 19,691 who got free annual wellness visits.
Another 89,710 Oklahoma Medicare Advantage clients also got preventive care at no out-of-pocket cost because the law, the report says.
Nationally, an estimated 34.1 million Medicare clients got no-pay wellness checks because of the change, the report says.
Original Print Headline: State Medicare patients save $29 million on drugs
Wayne Greene 918-581-8308