For those with Medicare Part D coverage, 2011 is a new year on a few fronts. The infamous coverage gap, also known as the donut hole, begins the first year of a decade-long phase out due to the health reform law. As with many things related to health reform, the law will change gradually with a few early benefits for Medicare enrollees. Those affected by the Part D donut hole should begin to see the benefits as soon as they spend their 2,840th dollar on medication.
As Jim Miller Points out in a recent article, there are a few things seniors can do to minimize the cost of their Medicare Part D coverage. The first is to be aware of the donut hole discounts, which apply to drugs purchased when the enrolle has spent between $2,840 and $4,550 on medications for the year. The discount is 50% on brand name and 7% on generic drugs, and does not affect one's progress toward the top end of the donut hole range. The second tactic is to do something that even those without Medicare Part D can do, shop around for drug prices, including buying in bulk, mail order, or splitting pills when it is safe. The third is to be aware of some of the assistance programs available for those making less than about $16,000 a year.
Medicare Part D enrollees will need to follow the changes annually, as all of dollar tiers and discounts mentioned above will change until 2020, when the donut hole will be phased out entirely (assuming health reform is implemented as scheduled).
Tags: 2011 part d discounts | medicare prescription drug plan | medicare part d coverage | medicare donut hole | medicare part d
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