HelenCare: Giving Seniors Peace of Mind and More Money in Their Pockets

Ed Note:  This was originally posted on HealthCare.gov, a website by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Helen R. is a senior who likes to keep busy. From helping her grandson with his education, to assisting other seniors at a West Philadelphia senior center, Helen knows there are lots of people counting on her. That’s why it’s a relief to Helen that she can count on the Affordable Care Act to get the care she needs at an affordable cost.

The law provides free preventive services under Medicare, such as cancer screenings and an annual wellness visit for Helen and other seniors to sit down and talk with their doctor about their concerns and needs. She says that it’s good to know that she and other seniors can access these services “without breaking the bank.”

Helen also falls into the prescription drug coverage gap called the “donut hole”, but because of the law, she receives a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs. By 2020, the donut hole will be closed.

“I am a grandmother who is trying to assist a grandson with his education. I take seven different medications. Getting the donut hole closed, that gives me a little more money in my pocket,” Helen explains.

Helen has been working the past six years as a health/wellness coordinator, arranging for health and fitness workshops and activities for seniors older than herself at the senior center. She knows they have the same issues with the costs of staying healthy. “If it weren’t for the health care reform, many of our seniors would not get to a doctor or get mammograms,” Helen says. “It is expensive for us to keep good health.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, over 5.1 million people with Medicare saved more than $3.1 billion on their prescriptions in 2010 and 2011—that’s an average of about $635 per person. The health reform law is also bolstering Medicare by providing new tools to crack down on fraud, waste, and abuse, recovering more than $4 billion taxpayer dollars last year alone.

Says Helen: “I do have more peace of mind with health care reform.”

If you have a story like Helen’s, share it at Healthcare.gov/MyCare.

Learn more about how the Affordable Care Act is helping Seniors: For more information:

Dori Salcido is the HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs