WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) today underscored the significant and tangible benefits that the Affordable Care Act continues to provide for Rhode Islanders.
“There’s no question – the Affordable Care Act works for Rhode Island,” said Cicilline, who serves as a member of the Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Since it was enacted, the Affordable Care Act has provided more than $60 million in savings and discounts for Rhode Islanders on Medicare. And last year alone, Rhode Island beneficiaries saved more than $14 million off the cost of their prescription drugs. These benefits remind us how critical it is to ensure the Affordable Care Act stays in place long after President Obama leaves office.”
Each year, the Affordable Care Act reduces the size of the “Medicare donut hole” – the gap that requires Medicare beneficiaries to pay prescription drug costs themselves until catastrophic coverage kicks in. In 2010, individuals in the donut hole received a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of prescription drugs. The following year, Medicare beneficiaries who reached the donut hole received discounts and savings to reduce their prescription drug costs.
According to data released this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, 15,785 Rhode Islanders in the donut hole received $14,392,653 in discounts and savings in 2015. This amounts to an average of $912 saved per beneficiary. In 2016, Medicare Part D beneficiaries who reach the donut hole will receive savings and discounts of 55% off the cost of brand name drugs and 42% off the cost of generics. The donut hole will close completely in 2020.
In addition to significant cost savings, Rhode Islanders on Medicare also took advantage of other benefits provided through the Affordable Care Act. 147,550 Rhode Islanders on Medicare received at least one preventive service with no copay or deductible. In addition, 58,499 Rhode Islanders on Medicare took advantage of a free annual wellness visit.
In his role as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Cicilline has advocated for policies that will bring down the exorbitant cost of prescription drugs and ensure all Rhode Islanders have access to quality affordable health care. Last November, he joined colleagues, including House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to establish the Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force to investigate strategies to combat the costs of pharmaceutical drugs. Cicilline is also a co-sponsor of the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act (H.R. 3061) to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate Medicare drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies.