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Report: N.J. seniors saved $198M on prescription drugs since 2010

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New Jersey seniors have saved about $198 million since 2010 on prescription drugs under the Affordable Care Act, according to an Aug. 21 release from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Additionally, New Jerseyans in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” — including those who are paying out-of-pocket for drug costs until hitting a deductible — saved about $64.5 million on prescription drugs in the first seven months of this year alone, and on average individually saved $829 since Jan. 1 of this year.

The average U.S. senior saved $630 between January and July, according to the release.

“Millions of seniors in New Jersey and across the country with Medicare are already seeing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, whether through savings on their prescription drugs or access to preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies free of charge,” said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), a primary sponsor of the ACA, in a release. “Clearly, the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare, and we must protect these important benefits so our seniors may receive quality, affordable health care.”

Under the ACA, patients who enter the donut hole will receive a rebate that gradually increases until 2020, when the donut hole is fully closed. In 2010, for example, the rebate was $250; in the 2011, patients began receiving a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs and a discount on generic drugs.

New Jersey currently has 77,781 Medicare beneficiaries.

Nationally, nearly 5.4 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved more than $4.1 billion on prescription drugs, according to the release. In 2012, 18 million people with traditional Medicare have received at least one preventive service at no cost to them.

“With the economy struggling and so many seniors living on fixed incomes, these prescription drugs savings are critical to helping our seniors stay healthy,” Pallone said.

New Jersey’s Department of Health said it was unable to confirm the numbers.

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