WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said those on Medicare saved $6.1 billion on prescription drugs due to the healthcare reform.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a release the Affordable Care Act made Medicare prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D more affordable by gradually closing the gap in coverage -- known as the doughnut hole -- under which beneficiaries must pay the full cost of their prescriptions out of pocket.
"By making prescription drugs more affordable, the Affordable Care Act is improving and promoting the best care for people with Medicare," Sebelius said.
Seniors on Medicare in the doughnut hole now receive discounts when they purchase prescription drugs at a pharmacy or order them through the mail, until they reach the catastrophic coverage phase, Sebelius said.
The law will provide additional savings each year until the doughnut hole is closed in 2020, Sebelius said.
This year, the healthcare law increased the discounts and savings to 52.5 percent of the cost of most brand name drugs and 21 percent of the cost of covered generic drugs, the secretary said.