Thursday, March 25, 2010

No more "doughnut hole" -- eventually!

Last year Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By pulled me into a group of elder bloggers who were talking with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office about the health care legislation. We asked a lot of questions.

Now that the bill is the law, Senate Democrats are promoting a pretty good video [3:16] that explains what the "doughnut hole" in the Medicare drug coverage means to some real people. Currently, prescription drug coverage includes a $4500 gap in which people have to pay for their meds themselves -- and pay their Medicare drug premiums too! Naturally, too many folks just stop taking their meds when they have to pay themselves.

Help is on the way, though the path remains a little tortuous. Medicare recipients who hit the gap this year will get a $250 rebate. Drug companies have agreed to a 50 percent discount on their name-brand products for Medicare recipients who hit the hole. (This was one of the deals the President cut to get big Pharma to moderate its opposition to reform -- 50 percent apparently is still a profit-making price when you compare it to what we could get if we imported the same drug from Canada.) And come about 2020, the doughnut hole will go away altogether. All good things!

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