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Feds: Obamacare saves $5.8M for South Dakotans

While problems with so-called Obamacare continue on the program’s health insurance website, other aspects of the law are being praised for saving patients money.

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In South Dakota, 8,152 seniors and people with disabilities saved $5,823,206, or an average of $714 per beneficiary, during the first 10 months of 2013 because of Obamacare, according to the federal government’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

For many people enrolled in Medicare Part D, the Medicare “doughnut hole” is the gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit before catastrophic coverage for prescriptions takes effect. Without Affordable Care Act assistance, Medicare beneficiaries would pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of prescription drugs once they hit the doughnut hole, until they reach catastrophic coverage.

But under the discount program in the Affordable Care Act, in 2010, anyone with a Medicare prescription drug plan who reached the prescription drug doughnut hole got a $250 rebate. In 2011, beneficiaries who landed in the doughnut hole began receiving discounts on covered brand-name drugs and savings on generic drugs. Next year, Medicare Part D participants who fall into the doughnut hole will receive savings of about 53 percent on the cost of brand name drugs and 28 percent on the cost of generic drugs. These savings and Medicare coverage will gradually increase until 2020, when the doughnut hole will be closed.