Sen. Carper announces Delaware seniors saved more than $40 million on prescription drugs since Affordable Care Act was enacted

WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare prescription drug plan coverage in Delaware saved $40,950,471 on prescription drug costs thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Today, Sen. Carper spoke to seniors at St. Anthony’s Senior Center about Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage) open enrollment, which ends Dec. 7, and the important benefits they are eligible to receive.

“The Medicare Part D program provides substantial assistance to seniors with high out-of-pocket drug costs,” said Sen. Carper. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, seniors who fall into the Medicare ‘donut hole’ of coverage are saving 50 percent on prescription drugs and 7 percent on generic drugs. Those discounts will increase every year until the ‘donut hole’ is completely filled in and those costs are eliminated in 2020. I encourage all Delawareans eligible for this program to make sure they are not leaving any money on the table when it comes to benefits for next year.”

For many people enrolled in Medicare Part D, the Medicare “donut hole” is the gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit before catastrophic coverage for prescriptions takes effect. Without assistance from the Affordable Care Act, Medicare beneficiaries would pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of prescription drugs once they hit the donut hole, until they reach catastrophic coverage. Thanks to the discount program in the Affordable Care Act, Medicare coverage will gradually increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed.

In 2010, anyone with a Medicare prescription drug plan who reached the prescription drug donut hole got a $250 rebate, and beginning in 2011, beneficiaries who landed in the donut hole began receiving discounts on covered brand-name drugs and savings on generic drugs. Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, more than 7.3 million seniors and people with disabilities nationwide who reached the donut hole in their Medicare Part D plans have saved $8.9 billion on their prescription drugs, an average of $1,209 per person since the program began. In Delaware, 16,879 seniors and people with disabilities saved $17,060,471, or an average of $1,011 per beneficiary, during the first 10 months of 2013. Overall, seniors in Delaware have saved $40,950,471 since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. Next year, Medicare Part D participants who fall into the donut hole will receive savings of about 53 percent on the cost of brand name drugs and 28 percent on the cost of generic drugs.

In addition to the continued savings in Medicare’s prescription drug program, new information from CMS details other savings for Medicare beneficiaries thanks to the Affordable Care Act including: 

  • Medicare’s Part B premium will not increase in 2014 and the last five years have been among the slowest periods of average Part B premium growth in the program’s history.
  • The Medicare Part B deductible will also not increase, having decreased in 2014.  The Part B premium and deductible for 2014 are 15 percent below what was projected in 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
  • Also as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans remain stable and strong. Earlier this year, CMS announced that the average Medicare Advantage (MA) premium in 2014 is projected to be $32.60. CMS also estimated that the average basic Medicare prescription drug plan premium in 2014 is projected to be $31 per month, holding steady for 4 years in a row. The deductible for standard Part D plans will decline by $15 in 2014, to $310. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, average MA premiums are down by 9.8 percent. 
  • Since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the life of the Medicare trust fund has been extended by nearly ten years, till 2026.

For more information about Medicare’s prescription drug benefits, please visit:

The Annual Open Enrollment period for health and drug plans began on October 15 and ends on December 7. For more information on Medicare Open Enrollment and to compare benefits and prices of 2014 Medicare health and drug plans, including state-by-state fact sheets, please visit: