Marking Two Years of the Affordable Care Act: Sen. Carper Highlights Health Care Reform’s Impact on Seniors

WASHINGTON – In anticipation of the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee who helped strengthen the health care reform legislation in the Senate, released the following statement highlighting the law’s benefits for seniors throughout Delaware and the United States:

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, thousands of Delaware’s seniors are enjoying significant new health benefits and cost-savings, helping our nation achieve better health outcomes for less money,” said Sen. Carper. “Since it was signed law nearly two years ago, the Affordable Care Act has significantly reduced the costs of prescription drugs for thousands of seniors in Delaware and millions across the nation caught in the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole.’ Additionally, seniors are now enjoying the health benefits of preventive care by taking advantage of free yearly physicals and free screening exams for diseases ranging from dementia to breast cancer to help prevent costly – and deadly – diseases. If we focus on prevention and wellness in an effort to keep Americans healthy instead of waiting until people are sick to provide treatment, we will be healthier as a nation, and future spending on health care can be reduced. The Affordable Care Act continues to benefit families and seniors in the First State and across the country by providing better access to vital health care services at a lower cost.

“Moreover, the Affordable Care Act takes important steps to strengthen Medicare by enhancing our efforts to fight waste, fraud and abuse in the program,” continued Sen. Carper. “Common-sense measures aimed at eliminating avoidable mistakes, like payment errors and accounting oversights, and cracking down on criminals are being implemented and are already helping to better safeguard taxpayer dollars. By aggressively tackling waste and fraud in Medicare we will continue to help protect the program’s scarce resources and improve services for our seniors. The Affordable Care Act has already made a 10-year, $350 million investment to prevent, detect, and fight fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This investment, in addition to initiatives that I’ve championed like the Senior Medicare Patrol and the Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayer Dollars (FAST) Act, will help us preserve and improve Medicare so it can continue to serve the millions of American seniors that depend on it.”

Since its enactment in March 2010, the Affordable Care Act has helped expand access to high quality, affordable health care for Delaware’s seniors and strengthen the Medicare program:

  • Annual Wellness Visits: New Medicare patients’ “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit is now covered without cost sharing during your first 12 months of Part B coverage. This exam is a one-time review of your health as well as education and counseling about preventive services and other health care. If a beneficiary has had Part B for longer than 12 months, s/he can get a yearly wellness visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan based on his or her current health and risk factors.
  • Preventive Screenings: The 150,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Delaware can now receive preventive screenings and tests – like mammograms and colonoscopies – as well as an annual checkup, without paying coinsurance or deductibles. In 2011 alone, 11,943 Delawareans received this benefit.
  • Prescription Drug Savings: Thanks to the new health care law, 12,866 people with Medicare in Delaware received a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole in 2010. In 2011, 12,356 people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on their covered brand-name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole. This discount resulted in an average savings of $757 per person, and a total savings of $9,358,894 in Delaware. By 2020, the law will close the donut hole. Average savings per traditional Medicare beneficiary are estimated to be $90 in 2011, increasing to $710 in 2021.
  • Curbing Waste, Fraud and Abuse in Medicare: The federal government is taking strong action to reduce payment errors, waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare. The President has made a commitment to reduce Medicare fraud by 50 percent by 2012. The health care law makes an historic, 10-year, $350 million investment to prevent, detect, and fight fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the life of the Medicare Trust Fund will be extended to at least 2024 as a result of reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, and slowing cost growth in Medicare. This will provide seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries with future cost savings on their premiums and co-insurance.

For more information on the Affordable Care Act and its benefits for seniors, please visit: