Monday, May 3, 2010

The donut hole - I prefer the donut

I first wrote this post last year when my husband hit the Medicare Part D "donut hole." We are once again faced with the scramble of finding alternative ways to get his medication (which if we had to pay for it out of pocket would actually be MORE than our income each month). This post is just a reminder for both myself and any of you who are on Medicare Part D with high prescription costs that programs to help exist.

For those of us on Medicare, or for those who's parents are dealing with Medicare it feels like there has been no change. Of course, we need things done YESTERDAY, because as our incomes are going down, our medical costs are increasing.

Here at the mansion, we have been hit with the DREADED Medicare Part D doughnut hole again this year. The amount that recipients are to pay out of pocket went up, up, up. In all fairness, it was the previous administration's doing.

It looks like there actually may be GOOD NEWS on the horizon though. President Obama HAS been working on our problem. The President announced plans to CUT the prescription drug expenses of the Medicare Part D doughnut hole.

NOW - We pay 100% of the cost of the medication while in the dreaded "hole", but beginning next July we'll only have to pay 50% of the cost of brand-name drugs in the gap.

PROPOSED - They are saying that 100% of the cost of the medications will go toward the $4350 out of pocket expenses that we're expected to pay (even though we'll only be spending half), which means that we'll be able to get to the low cost catastrophic coverage TWICE AS QUICKLY.

WHEN - This is going to be a part of the health care reform legislation that Congress is going to deal with in the fall. It is scheduled to be put into place by next July (2010).

WHO - The discounts will apply to MOST of us on Medicare part D. Only those with incomes over $85,000 and who pay the extra income-related Part B or those who ALREADY get the EXTRA HELP benefit coverage (with NO gap) will not be eligible.

IN THE MEANWHILE - There are plenty of drug companies willing to help. Check out a previous post of getting free medication or using free and low cost clinics.

ALSO - AARP has a calculator that will help you create a customized report about your coverage (how long you will make it before hitting the gap), and gives lists of LESS expensive medications that may be an alternative to what you're already taking.

This is just ONE more step to helping you and I live the good life for less.

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