Closing the Medicare 'donut hole'
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that, as of December 2011, almost 236,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Pennsylvania saw their prescription drug costs reduced by discounts in the Medicare Part D or ‘donut hole’ coverage gap. In total, Pennsylvanians with Medicare saved over $156 million, at an average of about $660 per person. Nationally, almost 4 million people with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their prescription drug costs as of December 2011. Older Pennsylvanians will continue to see these benefits until the ‘donut hole’ is completely closed in 2020.
As this was a measure I supported I was very pleased to hear this news. I have seen how challenging and frustrating the costs of health care and prescription drugs can be for older Pennsylvanians and this is a great step forward to fix this problem. In 2011, older Americans and people with disabilities saved $300.3 million on blood sugar lowering drugs, $263.2 million on cholesterol lowering drugs, and $120.2 million on blood pressure medications. I look forward to continuing to fight hard for all Pennsylvanians.