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Coloradans Already Benefitting from the Affordable Care Act

Thousands of Coloradans have already taken advantage of the new health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which includes many important benefits that will improve health care for older and low- to moderate-income Americans.

New data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows the impact of key prescription drug affordability provisions in the health care law. Specifically, the report found that 42,351 Coloradans fell into the Medicare Part D coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” in 2010 and received a $250 rebate check. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 28, 2011, nearly 48,000 people across the country have already benefited from the law’s 50 percent discount on brand name drugs for those who fall into the coverage gap. The discount will gradually increase until the doughnut hole closes in 2020.

Nationwide, 3.8 million people, who had drug expenses that put them in the “doughnut hole,” received rebate checks last year.
AARP members, for years, have been talking about the challenges they’ve faced paying for their prescription drugs. That’s why we fought to get help for them and all older Americans in the health care law, and we’re pleased to see some progress for millions of people in Medicare across the country.

According to White House officials, the health care reform in Colorado has resulted in:

  • About 291,000 children with pre-existing conditions protected from being dropped by their provider.
  • Nearly 81,000 small businesses are being assisted with tax credits to make premiums more affordable.
  • The state is receiving an estimated $76.9 million in federal grants.
  • About 21,800 young adults are able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans to age 26.

In addition, AARP is still pushing for common sense measures that would allow for the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs from abroad, increase access to less costly generic drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices directly with drug makers. Get more information online.
AARP also is focused on ensuring the health care law is implemented to best meet the needs of older Americans and their families, as well as helping our members and the public understand the new law so they can make the best decisions for themselves and loved ones.

The Affordable Care Act saves taxpayer dollars by cracking down on waste, fraud and Medicare abuse. By some estimates, spending just one dollar on fraud prevention can yield eight dollars in savings. The new law also fights age bias by limiting what insurance companies can charge older Americans, compared to younger people for the same health-care coverage.

The ACA requires Medicare to provide free preventive care benefits, including colonoscopies and mammograms that could help catch health problems before they become more serious, and it offers seniors and people with disabilities new options to help them stay in their own homes and communities.

So far, the ACA is reducing costs for older Coloradans and strengthening Medicare, but it is a large piece of legislation and we at AARP Colorado will continue to keep a vigilant eye on the many implications in place and on those yet to come to ensure they benefit Coloradans 50-plus, as well as all Colorado residents.

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