WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the health law helped more than 212,000 Ohio seniors and persons with disabilities save nearly $205 million in 2013 on prescription drugs, with an average discount per beneficiary of $964. In fact, since the health law was enacted, Ohioans with Medicare have saved nearly $500 million on prescription drugs overall. The health law has already protected millions of Ohioans, but enrollment for the 2014 health insurance marketplace will close in less than two weeks on March 31.
“The health law continues to help millions of Ohioans live healthier lives, and be better protected,” Brown said. “Just last year, more than 212,000 of Ohio seniors and people with disabilities saved an average of $964 on prescription drugs. And 912,000 Ohioans took advantage of a free preventive service. With only two weeks remaining before the enrollment deadline, uninsured Ohioans should utilize the resources available to them so that they, too, can get covered and benefit from the health law.”
Use of preventive services has expanded among people with Medicare. In 2013, an estimated 912,000 Ohioans with Medicare took advantage of at least one preventive service with no cost sharing and more than 100,000 took advantage of their free Annual Wellness Visit. More than five million Americans—and nearly 97,000 Ohioans—are now healthier and better protected with insurance purchased through the new marketplace. However, more than 193,000 Ohioans remain eligible for insurance through the marketplace, with more than 115,000 of them eligible to enroll with financial assistance. Ohioans can find local, certified navigators, application specialists and counselors by visiting https://localhelp.healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596.
The health law has already protected millions of Ohioans by closing the “donut hole” in drug prices for seniors, ending lifetime caps on insurance coverage, covering both children and adults with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday, offering free preventive care in new private insurance plans, and providing tax credits to small businesses to help them afford health coverage for their employees.
Further, financial help is available for middle and low-income individuals to enroll if they don’t have meaningful employer-sponsored health coverage. This includes a family of four with an annual income of below $94,200, and single adults with an annual income below $45,960. For some Americans, premiums will be nearly 14 percent lower in 2014 than previously expected, according to a recent report by HHS. For an individual in Ohio, the average monthly premium for the lowest-cost silver plan is $304 and for the lowest cost bronze plan is $263. States with the lowest premiums have more than double the number of insurance companies offering plans compared to states with the highest premiums. Ohio consumers have an average of 46 health plans from which to choose in the marketplace.
The health law also ensures that the dollars Ohioans pay for health insurance are used for their medical care—rather than for executive bonuses and ad campaigns. The law requires that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect from consumers on medical care. If they don’t meet this goal, they must give consumers a rebate. In Ohio, it is estimated that more than 6,300 Ohioans will benefit this year from $487,000 in rebates. Ohio families have faced unchecked hikes in their health insurance costs for years. But the law subjects insurance companies to new scrutiny if they raise prices by more than 10 percent; and the health law provided the state of Ohio $5.1 million to combat unjustifiable increases.
Brown, who declined Congressional health insurance for nearly two decades—keeping a 1992 campaign promise to decline a health plan until similar coverage is available to all Americans—entered the marketplace during the 2014 enrollment period that started October 1, 2013 and ends March 31, 2014.