New laws save seniors $1.2 billion in drug purchases

So far this year, more than 2.2 million people with Medicare have saved more than $1.2 billion on prescriptions, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

That averages out to $550 for every person, and more than 22.6 million seniors and people with disabilities across the country have taken advantage of at least one free Medicare benefit, said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In Colorado, more than 24,000 people on Medicare have saved at total of $13.2 million on their prescriptions. That averages out to $548 for every person.

CMS credits the Affordable Care Act for the savings. Under the act, people with Medicare can receive preventive services at no charge – including some cancer screenings and screenings for diabetes.

People are also getting medications cheaper this year. Seniors and people with disabilities receive a 50 percent discount on name-brand drugs in the Medicare Part D coverage gap.

CMS is highlighting success with Medicare during the open enrollment period, which started Oct. 15. The last day to enroll in Medicare is Dec. 7.