Health law has saved seniors $4.8 billion on Rx drugs, HHS says

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The Affordable Care Act gradually closes the Medicare "doughnut hole" — a coverage gap in which seniors have to pay for their drugs entirely out of pocket. Drug makers also agreed to offer deep discounts to Medicare recipients.

So far, seniors have saved $4.8 billion on their prescriptions, HHS said. The department said 5.6 million seniors have received a drug discount or rebate, including 2.3 million this year. Seniors who hit the doughnut hole have saved an average of $657 this year.

The health law has also bolstered preventive medicine, HHS said. Medicare now covers many preventive services without a co-pay or other cost-sharing for seniors. HHS said nearly 21 million seniors have received at least one preventive service this year without facing out-of-pocket costs.