There is some good news for Medicare beneficiaries in the health reform law. One important change affects something that sounds like food, but isn’t. It’s the “Donut Hole” and it relates to drug costs. All Medicare plans are different, but most have a temporary limit on what they will cover in terms of drug costs. So if you exceed thatlimit you are on your own. Even so once you’ve paid $4,450 in 2010 out of pocket costs, almost all of your drug costs above that amount are covered. But what do you do while you’re in the donut hole? Skip meds (not a good idea). Medicare offers some tips to keep your costs down, such as try generic, look into pharmaceutical assistance programs, and apply for extra help from Medicare.
So where’s the good news? The new law will gradually close the donut hole so seniors will no longer have a period where they must pay out of pocket. Under the new law, starting this year beneficiaries who get caught in the hole will receive a one-time $250 payment. Not great, I know but it’s a start. The law, as you will figure out, becomes effective in stages. In 2011, the year the first boomers turn 65, people in the gap will be able to buy brand-name drugs at half the current price. From 2012 until 2020, the discount will be increased until the benefit covers 75 percent of the cost.
Sites to check out for more information: http://Medicare.gov