Vice President Biden, along with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 that a 50% discount will be given to Medicare Part D beneficiaries on covered brand-name prescription drugs starting in 2011.
Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, and VP Biden discussed many healthcare issues, including the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for seniors. Some of those benefits include prescription drug discounts and legal measures that prevent fraud and make certain preventive care and annual wellness exams free for most Medicare beneficiaries.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of people with Medicare who will fall into the Part D donut hole next year will pay less for their prescription drugs,” said VP Biden. “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.”
In 2010, Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole received $250 rebate checks as part of the new health care law. So far, more than 1.2 million beneficiaries have received rebate checks and millions more are scheduled to receive a check, according to Secretary Sebelius.
This year, the donut hole begins when a Medicare beneficiary’s prescription drug costs reach $2,830. While in the gap, they have to pay 100% of the cost of their prescription drugs and must spend $3,610 out of their own pockets before qualifying for catastrophic coverage.
Under the new health care law, the donut hole will be closed by 2020, according to the White House.