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Medicare Part D’s “doughnut hole” is anything but sweet

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 By DOUG HEINLEN

AARP Florida President        

Medicare recipients who fall into the "doughnut hole" received some welcome news on Jan. 1 when Medicare began providing a 50-percent discount for name-brand prescription drugs for those who will exceed their drug plan's initial coverage limit in 2011.

 The Medicare Part D coverage gap, known as the "doughnut hole," is the difference between the initial coverage limit of $2,840 per year for  prescription drugs and the catastrophic coverage threshold of $4,550.

 Once you fall into the “doughnut hole,” your Part D prescription drug coverage, or drug coverage under a Medicare Advantage plan, stops.  You’ll pay the full cost of your prescriptions until you reach the “catastrophic” coverage level of $4,550.

But starting this year, the 50-percent discount on name-brand prescription drugs is available for anyone who falls into Medicare Part D's dreaded doughnut hole or coverage gap. A 7-percent discount is available for generic medications. 


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