US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin: Health Reform Has Brought $105 Million in Prescription Drug Savings, Free Preventive Services to Thousands of Iowa Seniors

Friday, March 21, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the authors of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), today applauded the news from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that thousands of Iowa Medicare beneficiaries, including seniors and people with disabilities,  have collectively saved more than $105 million on prescription drugs since the enactment of the health reform law. More than 414,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Iowa also received at least one free preventive service in 2013 alone.

Harkin, as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, played a pivotal role in the passage of the ACA.  He authored the prevention and wellness measures that are part of the law—including the provision that requires health insurance companies to cover recommended preventive screenings with no copays or deductibles.

“It’s simple: as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Iowa’s Medicare beneficiaries have saved millions on vital prescription drugs. Gradually closing the ‘donut hole’ will mean that Iowans with Medicare prescription drug coverage are seeing, and will continue to see, increased savings and coverage for critically important medications,” Harkin said. “The health reform law also brings savings to Iowans with Medicare in the form of covered preventive services with no copay and no deductible.  Just last year, more than 414,000 Iowans took advantage of at least one free preventive service—not only helping to save lives, but reducing our overall health care costs.”

According to HHS, in 2013, an estimated 414,107 Iowans with Medicare took advantage of at least one preventive service with no cost-sharing, with 40,450 utilizing the free Annual Wellness Visit. Preventive services covered under the law include a wide range of services, including cancer screenings, mammograms, tobacco use counseling, and diabetes screenings.

To gain coverage for 2014, Iowans must sign up for coverage by March 31st, and can do so by visiting Healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596. Already, more than five million Americans—including more than 15,000 Iowans—have signed up for health care plans through the Marketplaces. Earlier this week, Harkin released a public service announcement to help spread the word in Iowa about enrolling for health coverage through the ACA.  Listen to Harkin’s public service announcement by clicking here.

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