WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- The average senior on Medicare is estimated to save $4,200 on healthcare costs by 2021 because of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. officials said.
The law strengthens Medicare for seniors in several ways, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Monday -- giving them access to preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies, with no co-pay or deductibles, as well as a free annual wellness visit with a doctor of their choice.
Nearly 32.5 million people have already received a free preventive service, the statement said.
"Already, more than 5.1 million seniors and people with disabilities saved more than $3.2 billion in drug costs. That comes to an average savings of $635 per person for seniors caught in the coverage gap known as the donut hole," the statement said. "You get cheaper prescription drugs. If you're in the donut hole, you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying brand-name prescription drugs covered by Medicare Part D. The discount is applied automatically when you fill your prescription -- you don't have to do anything to get it. These changes are already saving seniors billions of dollars."
The Affordable Care Act builds on federal efforts to combat fraud and abuse, and the efforts are saving billions of dollars in taxpayer funds, helping extend the life of the Medicare Trust fund, federal health officials said.