Closing the Medicare Part D Donut Hole
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes important improvements to Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) such as reducing expenses for seniors in the donut hole now and eliminating the gap altogether by 2020. Seniors receive additional savings each year on their prescription drugs until the donut hole is closed. The ACA also provides additional assistance for low-income beneficiaries. Since passage of the ACA in 2010, more than 9.4 million people with Medicare have saved over $15 billion on prescription drugs.
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.
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 Donut Hole
In the coverage gap: You’ll need to pay your premiums and out-of-pocket drug costs from the time you meet your deductible (if your plan has one) until you reach catastrophic coverage. If you have a Medicare prescription drug plan that includes coverage in the gap, you may get a discount after your plan’s coverage has been applied to the drug price. The discount for brand-name drugs will apply to the remaining amount you owe.
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In 2013, you get out of the coverage gap when you have paid $4,750 out-of-pocket for covered drugs since the start of the year. When you reach this out-of-pocket limit, you get catastrophic coverage. The costs that help you reach catastrophic coverage include what you spent on drugs while in the donut hole and most of the discount on brand-name drugs you received in the coverage gap. If someone else pays for your drugs on your behalf, this will also count toward getting you out of the coverage gap. This includes drug costs paid for you by family members, most charities, State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs, AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and the Indian Health Service. You continue to pay your drug plan’s monthly premium during the gap, but the premium does not count toward the $4,750 out-of-pocket limit. The amount your drug plan paid for your drugs in your initial coverage period also does not count.
Costs in the coverage gap
If you think you’ve reached the coverage gap and you don’t get a discount when you pay for your brand-name prescription, review your next “Explanation of Benefits” (EOB). If the discount doesn’t appear on the EOB, contact your drug plan to make sure that your prescription records are correct and up-to-date. Get your plan’s contact information from a Personalized Search (under General Search), or search by plan name. If your drug plan doesn’t agree that you’re owed a discount, you can file an appeal.
Compare Medicare Advantage & Supplemental Plans
Medicare supplement plans offer benefits in addition to the benefits offered by Medicare Parts A and B, and they are offered by private insurance companies. There are several different types of Medicare supplement plans available, including Plan A, Plan C, Plan F, Plan M and Plan N. Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans are not complementary, so it is important to understand which type of policy makes the most sense for you. Our licensed sales agents are standing by to walk you through a comparison of the costs and benefits of each type of plan, and to help you choose a Medicare supplement plan that best meets your needs.
More drug savings in 2020