In 2010, as part of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) helped lead the successful fight to end the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole” which left thousands of Washington state seniors paying the total cost of their prescription drugs every year.

According to a recent report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 1,866 Yakima County residents received over $1.1 million in prescription drug discounts in 2011 alone.

“This news goes to show the Affordable Care Act is making real change in the lives of seniors in Washington state,” said Senator Murray. “As we approach the two-year anniversary of the signing of this historic legislation, I am proud we are seeing these kinds of results in my home state and all across America. The first two years of the Affordable Care Act have moved us in the right direction, but our work does not end here. I remain committed to improving our nation’s health care system for the good of our families, seniors and small business owners.”

On this interactive map you can click on any of the green flags to see the following information for a county:

·     People in each county who benefitted from "donut hole" fix

·     Total amount saved in the county

·     Average savings per person

The Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole” left thousands of seniors paying the full cost of prescription drugs after their yearly drug expenses exceeded $2,930.  Drug coverage wouldn't resume until total drug spending hit $6,657 for the year – a high threshold for seniors on low, fixed incomes.  The Affordable Care Act addresses this problem through prescription drug discounts for people affected by the donut hole.  Those savings will continue increasing until 2020, when the Medicare Part D donut hole closes completely.

In 2010, all Medicare beneficiaries who were affected by the donut hole received a one-time payment of $250 to help offset the cost of their prescription drugs.  Last year and this year, patients receive a 50 percent discount on all brand name drugs purchased while they are in the donut hole.

On average, Yakima County seniors who fell into the donut hole in 2011 saved $622 on account of this law.

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