Mr. Evans reaches the coverage gap in his Medicare drug plan. He goes to his pharmacy to fill a prescription for a covered generic drug. The price for the drug is $20, and there’s a $2 dispensing fee that gets added to the cost. Mr. Evans will pay 58% of the plan’s cost for the drug (51% in 2017) and dispensing fee ($22 x .58 = $12.76 in 2016; $22 x .51 = $11.22 in 2017). The $12.76 amount ($11.22 in 2017) he pays will be counted as out-of-pocket spending to help him get out of the coverage gap.
What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?
Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share.
Medicare Part D coverage gap
The Medicare Part D coverage gap (informally known as the Medicare donut hole) is a period of consumer payment for prescription medication costs which lies between the initial coverage limit and the catastrophic-coverage threshold, when the consumer is a member of a Medicare Part D prescription-drug program administered by the United States federal government. The gap is reached after shared insurer payment – consumer payment for all covered prescription drugs reaches a government-set amount, and is left only after the consumer has paid full, unshared costs of an additional amount for the same prescriptions. Upon entering the gap, the prescription payments to date are re-set to $0 and continue until the maximum amount of the gap is reached: copayments made by the consumer up to the point of entering the gap are specifically not counted toward payment of the costs accruing while in the gap.
Medicare Part D Coverage Gap (“Donut Hole”)
Coverage gap, also known as the “donut hole”: While in the coverage gap, you’ll pay 45% of the plan’s cost for brand-name drugs and 58% of the plan’s cost for generic drugs in 2016. You’re out of the coverage gap once your yearly out-of-pocket drug costs reach $4,850 in 2016. Once you have spent this amount, you’ve entered the catastrophic coverage phase. The costs paid by you or someone on your behalf (such as a spouse or loved one) for Part D medications on your plan’s formulary, or list of covered drugs, will count toward your out-of-pocket costs and help you get out of the coverage gap* Additionally, manufacturer discounts for brand-name drugs count towards reaching the spending limit that begins catastrophic coverage. If your plan requires you to get your prescription drugs from a participating pharmacy, make sure you do so, or else the costs may not apply towards getting out of the coverage gap. Keep in mind that costs that are paid for you by other insurance you may have, such as prescription drug coverage through an employer, won’t count towards your out-of-pocket spending.
About the Medicare Coverage Gap
The Medicare coverage gap is the phase of your Medicare Part D benefit when there is a gap in prescription drug coverage. During this phase, you will have to pay more for your drugs, until you reach the catastrophic coverage phase. Most Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans have a coverage gap, or “donut hole.” The coverage gap is reached when your total drug costs (what you and your plan pay) reach a certain amount. You then pay for your prescriptions out of pocket until entering the plan’s catastrophic coverage phase. This is when your total out-of-pocket costs, including the annual deductible and copayments/coinsurance, reach $4,850 in 2016.
Medicare Part D Donut Hole – Prescription Drug Coverage Gap
Most Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans have a coverage gap, sometimes called the Medicare “donut hole.” This means that after you and your Medicare drug plan have spent a certain amount of money for covered prescription drugs, you then have to pay all costs out-of-pocket for the drugs, up to a certain out-of-pocket limit. The yearly deductible, coinsurance, or copayments, and what you pay while in the coverage gap, all count toward this out-of-pocket limit. The limit doesn’t include the drug plan’s premium.
Part D Information for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
The Medicare Coverage Gap Discount Program (Discount Program) makes manufacturer discounts available to eligible Medicare beneficiaries receiving applicable, covered Part D drugs, while in the coverage gap. In order to participate in the Discount Program, manufacturers must sign an agreement with CMS to provide the discount on all of its applicable drugs (i.e. prescription drugs approved or licensed under new drug applications or biologic license applications). Beginning in 2011, only those applicable drugs that are covered under a signed manufacturer agreement with CMS can be covered under Part D.
Medigap (Medicare Supplement Health Insurance)
A Medigap policy is health insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill the “gaps” in Original Medicare Plan coverage. Medigap policies help pay some of the health care costs that the Original Medicare Plan doesn’t cover. If you are in the Original Medicare Plan and have a Medigap policy, then Medicare and your Medigap policy will each pay its share of covered health care costs. Generally, when you buy a Medigap policy you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium ($96.40 in 2011 for most beneficiaries). In addition, you will have to pay a premium to the Medigap insurance company. As long as you pay your premium, your Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable. This means it is automatically renewed each year. Your coverage will continue year after year as long as you pay your premium. In some states, insurance companies may refuse to renew a Medigap policy bought before 1992. Insurance companies can only sell you a “standardized” Medigap policy. Medigap policies must follow Federal and state laws. These laws protect you. The front of a Medigap policy must clearly identify it as “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” It’s important to compare Medigap policies, because costs can vary. The standardized Medigap policies that insurance companies offer must provide the same benefits. Generally, the only difference between Medigap policies sold by different insurance companies is the cost. You and your spouse must buy separate Medigap policies.Your Medigap policy won’t cover any health care costs for your spouse. Some Medigap policies also cover other extra benefits that aren’t covered by Medicare. You are guaranteed the right to buy a Medigap policy under certain circumstances. For more information on Medigap policies, you may call 1-800-633-4227 and ask for a free copy of the publication “Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People With Medicare.” You may also call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and your State Insurance Department. Phone numbers for these Departments and Programs in each State can be found in that publication.
The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States that Do Not Expand Medicaid
State decisions about Medicaid expansion have implications for the potential scope of Medicaid under the ACA. If all states expanded their Medicaid programs, eligibility for Medicaid in non-expansion states would grow from less than half a million to 4.5 million. Though some of these people can currently purchase subsidized coverage through the Marketplace, there are advantages and disadvantages to Medicaid and private coverage in different states. For example, enrollees may face higher out-of-pocket costs and limited networks for Marketplace coverage than they would for Medicaid, whereas access to specialist care may be problematic in some state Medicaid programs. In addition, while people can enroll in Medicaid throughout the year, Marketplace enrollment is only available during a limited open enrollment period. Medicaid is designed to provide a safety net of coverage for low-income people, with benefits and provider networks targeted to this population and coverage available throughout the year as people’s circumstances change. There is no deadline for states to opt to expand Medicaid under the ACA, and debate continues in some states about whether to expand. If more states adopt the expansion, the coverage gap will shrink and more low-income adults will gain access to Medicaid eligibility.
Medicare: What Are Medigap Plans?
If you are going to buy a Medigap plan, the open enrollment period is six months from the first day of the month of your 65th birthday — as long as you are also signed up for Medicare Part B — or within six months of signing up for Medicare Part B. During this time, you can buy any Medigap policy at the same price a person in good health pays. If you try to buy a Medigap policy outside this window, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get coverage. If you do get covered, your rates might be higher.