Medicare prescription savings pass $1B mark

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Medicare says seniors with high prescription costs have saved more than $1 billion thanks to the new health care law.

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul provides Medicare recipients in the coverage gap called the “doughnut hole” with a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs this year, and a smaller break on generics. The discounts gradually increase until the coverage gap closes in 2020.

Officials said Friday about 2 million people with Medicare saved more than $1.2 billion on prescriptions through the end of September, averaging $550 per person.

The biggest category accounting for the savings was diabetes medications. Cholesterol drugs and medications for asthma and other lung diseases came next.

Next year, seniors will get the same 50 percent discount on brand drugs, and a bigger one on generics.

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