Medicare D

05 Feb: Study: Medicare coverage gap is forcing seniors to skip their meds

We’ve written here frequently about the “doughnut hole” in Medicare Part D. This is a coverage gap that, in 2009, requires seniors to begin paying full price for their prescription drugs if they exceed $2,700 in total drug costs. Contrary to what many seniors believe, the $2,700 isn’t based on out-of-pocket expenditures, but the total cost of their drugs, including the covered portion. So a senior will typically pay less than $1,000 out of pocket before hitting the coverage gap. And here’s where the doughnut hole becomes a chasm. Coverage doesn’t kick in again until the senior has paid a whopping $4,350 out of pocket. About a quarter of Medicare Part D enrollees — more than six million seniors —…

30 Oct: How to pick the best Medicare prescription drug plan for you

  With the annual election period for the Medicare prescription drug program beginning Nov. 15, elder-care expert Esther Koch says many seniors are currently in the wrong plan and are wasting money as a result. To get in the right plan for 2009, seniors are advised to use the Drug Plan Finder at www.MEDICARE.gov. Explains Koch: When it comes to prescription drug coverage seniors fall into 4 groups: seniors with employee or retiree drug coverage; those in Medicare Advantage Plans with drug coverage; those in low income subsidy programs; and seniors who are in stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans or have no prescription drug coverage. It’s that last group that needs to act… Koch offers the following three recommendations for…

28 Jul: Medicare Part D has been a great program for pharmaceutical companies

Jacob Goldstein at the Wall Street Journal Health Blog reported Friday: It was dueling reports yesterday on Capitol Hill, as Democrats argued that Medicare is paying way too much for prescription drugs and Republicans countered that the spending is on target. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House oversight committee and a longtime critic of the Medicare Part D drug benefit, … released [a] report, which looked at drug costs for so-called “dual eligible” patients whose drug coverage was switched from Medicaid to Medicare in 2006. The report found that Medicare Part D pays 30% more for drugs than Medicaid, a discrepancy worth more than $3.7 billion for drugmakers in 06 and 07. Not to be outdone, the Republicans on the…