By Julian Pecquet - 11/04/10 08:29 PM EDT
Enrollees in traditional Medicare will save more than $3,500 on average over the next 10 years, according to a new report released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services.
For seniors and people with disabilities who have high prescription-drug costs, savings should be even higher — as much as $12,300. Savings will be greatest for beneficiaries who reach Medicare's infamous prescription-drug "doughnut hole."
Total savings per beneficiary enrolled in traditional Medicare are estimated to be $86 in 2011, rising to $649 in 2020. For those in the doughnut hole, estimated savings increase from $553 in 2011 to $2,217 in 2020.
The report does not cover the 11 million seniors who have private Medicare Advantage plans, however. Those beneficiaries, according to an analysis released last month by the program's chief actuary, can expect to see their out-of-pocket costs steadily increase until 2017, to a high of $923 that year, before falling to $873 in 2019.
"The Affordable Care Act makes Medicare stronger and reduces the burden of healthcare costs on some of our most vulnerable citizens," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "The law improves benefits for seniors and people with beneficiaries who rely on Medicare and ensures that Medicare will be there for current and future generations by extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. These benefits and savings are only possible with the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act."