CMS: Obama health law yielded billions in Rx savings

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On prescription drug savings, the agency said the discounts most benefited people with chronic conditions.

"Drugs managing chronic conditions such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol accounted for almost 33 percent of savings and may have helped patients avoid hospitalization," officials wrote. A memo added that "people with Medicare who must continuously take medications are benefitting most from the help provided by the Affordable Care Act."

The Health and Human Services Department projected that savings per Medicare beneficiary will average $5,000 through 2022, with some chronically ill patients saving more than three times that amount.

This year, the healthcare law mandates savings of 52.5 percent on brand-name drugs and 21 percent on generics. Last year, Medicare beneficiaries in the "doughnut hole" saved 50 percent on covered brand-name prescriptions and 14 percent on generics.