If the Supreme Court strikes down the health law, 49 million Medicare beneficiaries could lose a variety of benefits that have already kicked in. They include:
- Prescription savings: Beneficiaries get discounts of 50 percent on brand-name drugs when they are in the so-called doughnut hole, or coverage gap where beneficiaries have no insurance help with the cost of their medications. The law phases out the gap by 2020.
- Preventive services: Beneficiaries in the traditional, government-run Medicare program receive preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies with no copayment or deductible.
- Wellness visits: Enrollees can see their doctor once a year to assess their health status and risks for disease, and develop a personalized prevention plan, with no copayment or deductible.
On average, seniors and disabled people covered by Medicare saved $604 in 2011 on prescription drugs, and more than 26 million saw their doctors for wellness visits or got preventive services. If the court strikes down only the law’s individual mandate, which requires most people to buy insurance, nearly all of the health law’s Medicare changes will remain intact.