U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) today urged Senate leaders to close the gap in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage, commonly known as the “donut hole” by 2019, as a way to not only lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors, but also to help pay for additional disaster assistance needed in places like Florida and Puerto Rico.
Nelson says closing the so-called Medicare “donut hole” early would save taxpayers approximately $9 billion over ten years and help offset some of the additional spending being proposed in a budget deal the Senate is expected to take up later this week.
“Closing this gap in coverage will save seniors thousands of dollars every year on the cost of their prescription drugs,” Nelson said. “It also saves taxpayers more than $9 billion over ten years. To me, that’s a win-win for everyone.”
Under the nation’s current health care law, the Medicare “donut hole” is expected to close by 2020. Nelson says closing this gap in coverage by 2019, instead of 2020, and shifting more of the cost to drug makers, instead of Medicare, will help provide additional savings for both seniors and taxpayers.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, previous provisions to close the “donut hole” have saved Florida’s 355,000 Medicare-covered seniors more than $350 million in 2015 alone. That’s an average annual savings of $987 per senior.