WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "We are pleased that the Supreme Court found the majority of the Affordable Care Act constitutional," said AARP CEO A. Barry Rand. "We look forward to the continued implementation of this critically important legislation so that millions of Americans can continue to receive the benefits it provides. AARP will continue to be a source of information and support as Americans navigate the benefits of the law."
AARP says that it supported this law because it helps many Medicare recipients avoid financially burdensome increases in prescription drug costs by closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, or "doughnut hole." The ACA also expands the number of people eligible for free preventive and wellness benefits, and cracks down on Medicare fraud, waste and abuse. Finally, for those not yet eligible for Medicare, the ACA will be instrumental in eliminating discriminatory health insurance practices such as exclusions based on pre-existing conditions, and in limiting the use of age rating to charge exorbitant premiums for older Americans.
According to AARP, by starting to close the doughnut hole, 5.3 million people with Medicare Part D have saved $3.7 billion since the law was enacted. In the first five months of 2012, 745,000 people with Medicare saved a total of $485.3 million on prescription drugs in the doughnut hole coverage gap for an average of $651 in savings per person this year. Over 32.5 million Americans in Medicare used one or more free preventive services in 2011. And, over 2.2 million people with traditional Medicare benefited from the new Annual Wellness Visit in 2011.
AARP says that it is analyzing the entire decision, including the Medicaid portion of the Supreme Court's decision, to understand what it means for affordable healthcare coverage moving forward.