Will The New Health Care Law Affect Medicare Part D?



The Affordable Care Act passed months ago and people still speculate about what is and is not in the bill. The bill did make changes that will affect people on Medicare Part D, but it did not change the overall program. Most of the changes that did occur were to increase an annual drug limit or to provide a loophole to help people who need medication get around the donut hole. The donut hole was a temporary problem that could affect Senior Citizens on Medicare Part D for several years.

What Is the Donut Hole for Medicare Part D?

The donut hole happens when a person spends $2,840 dollars for their medication. When a Medicare Part D beneficiary reaches this point, he used to have to pay the full amount for his prescriptions. The Affordable Care Act caused seniors who fell into the donut hole to receive a $250 rebate check from Medicare. A change in the law caused the seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D to pay 50% of their prescription drug costs rather than the full amount. The donut hole does not remove coverage. When a senior pays around $5,000 for his prescription drugs, full Medicare Part D coverage renews.

Were There Other Changes to Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D remains otherwise intact. The coverage level did not change, and the a few more drugs were added to the list of covered prescriptions. These small changes will not matter to most beneficiaries. Those who need the approved medications will find the changes welcome relief. If congress manages to pass a repeal for the Affordable Care Act, it is not known whether they will let many of the Medicare changes stay in the bill. Calender year 2011 will not see as many changes for Medicare as 2010 introduced.



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