The new health care law is making sweeping changes to the Medicare Part D drug benefit program. Many people are wondering about how the new law will affect their lives. The new health care law intends to help reduce a Medicare Part D beneficiary’s out-of-pocket expenses after they reach the coverage gap limit, known as the “doughnut hole”.
Before the new health care law, Medicare Part D beneficiaries were required to pay 100% of their prescription drug costs after they had spent $$2,830 on prescription drugs. This gap in coverage left 3.4 million beneficiaries(14 percent of all beneficiaries) without any form of prescription drug coverage in 2007. The new health care law will make changes that make prescription drugs more affordable for Medicare Part D beneficiaries who have reached the coverage gap.
The new health care law will make the following changes to Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2020. In 2010, a $250 rebate will be given to Part D beneficiaries with spending in the coverage gap. Starting in 2011, Part D beneficiaries who reach the coverage gap will receive a 50% discount on the total cost of their brand-name prescription drugs. Beginning in 2013, the government will begin providing subsidies for brand-name drugs bought by seniors who hit the coverage gap. Seniors who buy generic drugs will be granted subsidies each year until 2020, which is when 75% of their generic drug costs will be covered.
The new health care law, which will help gradually eliminate the Medicare Part D coverage gap over the next ten years, will be helpful for seniors who pay high out-of-pocket drug expenses. Checks amounting to $250 were sent out on June 2010 and this represents the first tangible benefit of the new health care law for enrolled seniors. From 2010 to 2020, the huge expansion of Medicare Part D coverage should be extremely assuring for Part D beneficiaries.