Durbin: Health Care Reform Helped Illinois Seniors Save $96 Million in Out-of-Pocket Costs

Senator announces map showing county-by-county savings from the Affordable Care Act's provisions that help close the prescription drug "donut hole"

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - As additional consumer-oriented provisions of the landmark health care reform law continue to be implemented, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today drew attention to a new interactive map showing the money that Illinois Medicare beneficiaries in each county saved last year as provisions to close the so-called “donut hole” coverage gap came into effect. The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit coverage gap forced beneficiaries to pay 100% of their prescription drug costs after exceeding a limit but before qualifying for catastrophic coverage. In 2010, the gap in coverage totaled $3,610.

“Out of pocket health care spending is a major concern for seniors in our state and across the country,” said Durbin. “Many live on fixed incomes, already spend significantly more than younger households on health expenses, and simply cannot afford the additional costs of falling into the Medicare donut hole. In saving 144,000 Illinois Medicare beneficiaries more than $96 million last year, the health care reform law has already begun to pay dividends for our seniors.”

Under the health care reform law signed by President Obama, seniors who got stuck in the donut hole saw the costs of their brand name drugs discounted by 50% in 2011. Approximately 3.6 million people nationwide with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their prescription drugs last year – an average of $604 per beneficiary.