Medicare Part D: A Success Story

This week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted data that shows beneficiaries in the Medicare prescription drug program are accessing the medicines they need and saving money as they reach the coverage gap in the Part D benefit design.

We wrote about the pharmaceutical industry’s agreement to help fill the coverage gap last year.

Now, a blog post by CMS Administrator Donald Berwick says ”almost half a million individuals enrolled in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit have received a 50 percent discount on their out-of-pocket costs in the first five months of 2011.”

Part D enrollees have saved a total of $260 million, with an average savings of $545 per person since the coverage gap discount program began in January 2011, according to CMS.

This recent news highlights the overall success of the Part D program. Polls have consistently shown that Medicare Part D enrollees are overwhelmingly satisfied with their Part D coverage. Average premiums for Part D coverage in 2011 are $30, which are more than 40 percent lower than originally projected when the program was established.

-By Laura Woodin