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Medicare Part D Changes Not Overwhelming, Experts Say
Date:11/11/2010

erage, the gap that sets in after regular coverage has been reached and before catastrophic coverage kicks in. The consumer's share of costs will continue to decrease, until the doughnut hole is closed completely in 2020, according to the Medicare Rights Center.

Beneficiaries who find themselves in the donut hole will see a discount of 50 percent for brand-name drugs and 7 percent for generics.

That 50 percent coverage will be "a real help with relatively high drug costs," said Neuman.

The gap will start after $2,840 has been spent on drugs, while catastrophic coverage takes over at $4,550 out-of-pocket spending, according to Kaiser.

To choose the best plan for them, beneficiaries will have to do some digging during the upcoming enrollment period.

"Year in and year out, you have to look at things again because plans, drugs and your health changes. You need to make sure your plan is still a good deal," said Baker.

Look at premiums but also look beyond that, at factors like which drugs are covered by a specific plan, how much those drugs will cost you and if there's a limit on the number of prescriptions.

"Cheaper isn't necessarily better if a drug isn't approved for the plan. Then the cheap plans isn't so cheap any more," Baker explained.

"There are still many choices, but it's a good idea to compare and reassess if it's the best plan," Neuman added.

Although the open enrollment period is the same as last year, seniors should note that the Jan. 1 to Feb. 14 disenrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans is different.

"In the old days, you could either disenroll and move to Original Medicare or move to another Advantage plan,." Baker said. "This year, you can only move to Original Medicare."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has more on the prescription drug plans. '/>"/>

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