ORLANDO, Fla. -

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports that in the first half of 2012, 70,947 with Medicare in Florida saved a total of $45,015,539 on prescription drugs in “donut hole” coverage gap for an average of $634 in savings this year.

Nationwide the data is encouraging as well.

In a news release issued today, the CMS reports ” over 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities” have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs since the law went into effect.

“Millions of people with Medicare have been paying less for prescription drugs thanks to the health reform law,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “Seniors and people with disabilities have already saved close to $4 billion nationwide. In 2020, the donut hole will be closed thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”

According savings are automatically applied to prescription drugs that people with Medicare purchase, after they hit the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap or “donut hole.” Since the law was enacted, seniors and people with disabilities have had several opportunities to save on prescription drugs:

  • In 2010, people with Medicare who hit the donut hole received a one-time $250 rebate. These rebates in Florida totaled $64,882,000;
  • In 2011, people with Medicare began receiving a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 7 percent coverage of generic drugs in the donut hole. Last year, 252,358 Medicare beneficiaries in Florida received a total of $150,665,783 in discounts, an average savings of $597 for 2011
  • This year, Medicare coverage for generic drugs in the coverage gap has risen to 14 percent. For the first six months of the year, people with Medicare in Florida have saved $45,015,539.
  • Coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will be closed