Medicare and the Affordable Care Act: Good stuff for seniors

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) included a number of changes to Medicare that are already helping seniors and people with disabilities.  Medicare now covers more preventive services at no cost to the patient, including an annual wellness exam.  Many of these preventive services can identify serious and chronic diseases that would cost Medicare billions of dollars if they go undiagnosed and untreated.

According to a press release from CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services):

  • 18,907,851 people with Original Medicare, or 55.6 percent of those enrolled in the program, received one or more free preventive services this year, through the end of August.
  • During the same time period, 1,295,373 Americans with Original Medicare have taken advantage of the new Annual Wellness Visit, up from 1.06 million through the end of July and 780,000 through mid-June.

 Help with Part D high drug costs:

Because of the Affordable Care Act,  nearly 1.3 million people have received a 50 percent discount on their brand name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole, saving a total of $660 million so far this year.

For people who hit the coverage gap (known as the “donut hole”):

  • 1.28 million have received discounts on brand-name drugs this year through the end of July, up from 899,000 through the end of June and 478,000 through the end of May;
  • These discounts have totaled $660 million in savings for seniors and people with disabilities so far this year; up from $462 million through June and $260 million through May;
  • Individuals who have received this discount saved an average of $517 so far this year.


For state-by-state information on utilization of free preventive services and the Annual Wellness Visit, please visit


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