While projected to be $30 during 2012, premiums actually averaged $29.67, according to the HHS.
Since the Medicare prescription "donut hole" coverage gap was addressed by a provision in the health care reform law - the Affordable Care Act -- seniors and people with disabilities have saved $3.9 billion on prescription drugs, according to Sec. Sebelius.
HHS statistics show that during the first half of 2012, over 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs, averaging $629 per person.
"Premiums are holding steady and, thanks to the health care law, millions of people with Medicare are saving an average of over $600 each year on their prescription drugs," said Secretary Sebelius.
Under provisions of the Affordable Care Act, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the coverage gap will continue to increase every year until 2020, when the gap will be completely eliminated.
The HHS has announced that enrollment for Medicare prescription drug plans in 2013 will run from October 15, through December 7, 2012. During the enrollment period, people with Medicare, their families and their caregivers will be able to choose or change their plans for 2013 by comparing their current coverage and quality ratings to other plan offerings. New benefit choices will become effective Jan. 1, 2013.
Medicare is health insurance for people 65 years of age or older and some disabled people under 65. Doctors, hospitals and clinics who treat Medicare recipients are reimbursed by the federal government for their services. Medicare is funded by a portion of payroll taxes paid by employers and workers, and by monthly premiums deducted from Social Security benefit checks. Typically, when you apply for Social Security retirement benefits, you also automatically apply for Medicare.