WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Pharmaceutical firms will give 50 percent discounts on brand-name medications next year for those in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, U.S. officials say.
Vice President Joe Biden and Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said Thursday those in Medicare Part D who reach the coverage gap, or doughnut hole -- out-of-pocket expenses costs from $750 to $3,600 -- have to pay the full price of their prescriptions, in addition to their monthly premiums.
"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of people with Medicare who will fall into the Part D doughnut hole next year will pay less for their prescription drugs," Biden said on a conference call with seniors from across the country.
"The discount manufacturers will pay on brand-name drugs, helping millions of seniors who are struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month, and it's just one of the ways the new healthcare law helps make Medicare stronger."
More than 1.2 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries who have hit the doughnut hole so far this year have received the $250 rebate checks as part of the cost savings provisions in the Affordable Care Act and savings will continue even after the coverage gap is closed in 2020, Sebelius said.