This week, the U.S. will reach the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.  In anticipation of this, The Department of Health and Human Services recently released numbers to demonstrate the effect of the Affordable Care Act on Medicare in Montana. KGVO News spoke with Public Affairs Specialist for The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service, Mike Fierberg about the numbers.

Below is the official Medicare press release in full:

Affordable Care Act helps 15,388 on Medicare in Montana save $9,710,741.55 on prescription drugs

Seniors and people with disabilities in Montana save an average of $631.05; nationwide, 5.1 million saved over $3.2 billion

As the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaches, new data shows that 15,388 Medicare beneficiaries in Montana saved a total of $9,710,741.55 on prescription drugs because of the new health care law, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced today, an average of $631.05 per individual.  Savings for seniors include a one-time $250 rebate check to seniors who hit the “donut hole” coverage gap in 2010 and a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs in the donut hole in 2011.

“Without the health care law, more than 5.1 million seniors nationwide would have faced $3.2 billion in higher drug costs.  That includes $9,710,741.55 for Medicare beneficiaries in Montana,” Secretary Sebelius said.  “As we move forward, seniors will save even more as the new law completely eliminates the Medicare donut hole, delivering more relief to Americans.”

In 2012, Medicare beneficiaries will receive a 50 percent discount from manufacturers on covered brand name drugs and a 14 percent savings on generic drugs in the donut hole. The Affordable Care Act expands these discounts over time until the donut hole is closed in 2020.

“Already this year, tens of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities are starting to see increased savings as they enter the donut hole,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.  “The Affordable Care Act has made prescription drugs more affordable for Medicare beneficiaries, protecting the health and pocketbooks of millions of America’s seniors.”