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By Liz Abbott
By Liz Abbott
WASHINGTON – The federal agency charged with implementing the new health care law announced it is seeing major out-of-pocket savings for Medicare beneficiaries as a result of health care reform.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported that there will be no increases in premiums or deductibles for the Medicare Part B program in 2014 and that more than $8 billion has been saved since efforts went into effect to close the prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole.
The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $104.90 in 2014, the same as it was in 2013, and the deductible will be $147, which is also the same as this year.
“We continue to work hard to keep Medicare beneficiaries’ costs low by rewarding providers for producing better value for their patients and fighting fraud and abuse,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, said in a statement.
As a result, the Medicare Part B premium will stay the same, which Tavenner called “good news for Medicare beneficiaries and for American taxpayers. “
This news comes at a time when Tavenner, and CM S are under fire for glitches that have plagued the federal health care exchange website since it went online earlier this month.
Medicare PART B covers physicians ‘services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services and other items. By comparison, Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospitalization, skilled nursing care and some home health care. The premium for Medicare Part A will decrease by $15 in 2014 to $426, but the deductible patients pay when they are admitted to the hospital will increase by $32 to $1,216.
Efforts to close the gap in prescription coverage, which was the difference Medicare beneficiaries saw between their actual prescription costs and the amount allowed under Medicare, began in 2010 and will continue under the Affordable Care Act until the gap is closed in 2020. According to CMS, more than 7 million seniors and people with disabilities who reached their donut hole in the first nine months of 2013 saved $2.3 billion, or $834 per person, as a result of the new health care law.