A lot can change in 50 years. From landing a man on the moon, to inventing computer systems that can analyze billions of data per second, to the creation of social networks that put friends just a click away, our world is a very different place today than it was five decades ago.
Health care has come a long way, too. Fifty years ago, Medicare began helping Americans save their hard-earned money. Ten years ago, Medicare's prescription drug benefit (Part D) helped these same Americans more easily and affordably access the medicines they need. And a mere five years ago, the Affordable Care Act transformed our health care system even further. Recent figures from the Department of Health and Human Services show how these policies have helped patients save over the years:
10.7 million: The number of Medicare recipients who have received affordable prescription medications since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. In the last year alone, more than 5 million senior and disabled Americans received significant cost savings on essential prescription medicines and therapies.
$20.8 billion: The amount of money that these same beneficiaries saved on medicines over the past 5 years, equating to $1,945 per person per year! In 2015, annual savings totaled $5.4 billion, or $1,054 per beneficiary. This is a substantial amount for many if not most Americans, and an amount they can now use elsewhere thanks to Medicare's prescription program.
39.2 million: Medicare recipients who utilized one of the program's preventive care options in 2015. 9 million used their Annual Wellness Visit, free of copay or deductible fee. When patients take advantage of these preventative measures and adhere to their prescriptions with the help of Part D, urgent procedures and hospital visits become less frequent, and the coverage gap--which you may have heard called the "donut hole"--shrinks, saving them both time and money.
Our public health care has made leaps and bounds in the last half century, and the numbers reveal that even within the last decade we have made huge strides. To learn how you can take part in this progress, visit the Medicare website and be sure to check back in with us for facts, news and resources on Medicare and Part D.