Due to a little provision in the 2019 budget bill passed by Congress today, fewer Medicare enrollees may need to look online to international pharmacies for lower costs. That’s because the Part D discounts mandated under Obamacare are being phased in a year earlier. These are discounts provided to enrollees who fall into the Medicare Part D coverage gap “the “donut hole”.
Without the new provision, people in the donut hole would be responsible for around 50% of the cost of their medication until 2020, when they would only need to cover 30%. Now they will only need to cover 30% in 2019 – a year early.
This is a small win but perhaps it was a consolation prize. Regardless, some drug price relief is always welcome. It’s the drug companies who are forced to cover these discounts so they’re probably none too happy about this. On the other hand, maybe there was a backroom deal. The Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act (CREATES), which would have helped lower-cost generics come to market faster, was slated to be a part of this bill. CREATES had massive support from groups on the left and the right, but it was knocked out of the final bill.
I’m glad that older Americans get a small discount next year on prescription drugs, but I have the feeling we got thrown a bone.
Part D open enrollment for 2018 has begun and will continue through December 7th. During this time, if you’re a Medicare enrollee and do not have a plan, then you should pick one. If you already have a plan, you should shop around because plans change! Premiums and deductibles go up or down, drugs get dropped from formularies, new plans come into the marketplace and others exit. Our website, MedicareDrugPlans.com, has a variety of basic plan information to help you in your search, such as premiums, deductibles, coverage gaps, and whether the plan premium is waived if you have a lower income. The most useful thing about MedicareDrugPlans.com is that you can read ratings and reviews about the plans by people who actually know because they use them. That means that if you were using Part D during 2017, you have the opportunity to help others and rate your plan.
MedicareDrugPlans.com is a supplemental information site to maximize your research when choosing your plan. However, the best place to finalize and select your plan is the on the government’s website. There, you will enter in your zip code, Medicare info, names of the medications you take, and find out which plans cover those medications.
As usual, current plan ratings and reviews don’t paint a pretty picture of Medicare Part D.
We have a sister website called MedicareDrugPlans.com, where you can find basic information about, well, Medicare drug plans, and read reviews of the plans written by people who have used them, and rate your own plan if you have one. We’ve updated our data to include the plans that will be available in 2017.
Why? It’s that time again to pick a Medicare Part D plan. Doors opened today, October 15, and will close on December 7. If you’re one of 57 million Americans, most of them over 65, who are enrolled in Medicare then you either have a plan or are newly eligible for one. There are many plans (although fewer than there once were) and picking one can be highly aggravating. While online pharmacies, drug prices, and personal drug importation are PharmacyChecker.com’s forte, each year since we started PharmacyCheckerBlog, I’ve tried to write something educational, practical, even funny, about the plans and how to pick one at enrollment time. This year I went nuts. Still, if you read through this post carefully, it will teach you about Part D Medicare drug plans: the good, the bad, and the ugly and give you resources to learn even more. First a very little history… (more…)