, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 860-861
Date: 29 Mar 2013

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program: Benefits, Unintended Consequences and Impact on Health Disparities

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The Medicare Part D prescription drug program, administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, took effect on January 1, 2006 and covered all 43 million Medicare beneficiaries who were enrolled at that time, making it the largest policy change to Medicare since the inception of the program. Dual Medicare/Medicaid eligible individuals were switched from Medicaid to privately owned Part D drug plans when Part D began. Dual eligible individuals receive low income subsidies under Part D that cover deductibles and premiums and some cost-sharing from the government.1 According to the latest information from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, no Medicare drug plan can have a deductible exceeding $320.1 Once total (patient and Medicare) expenditures reach $2,930, the individual enters the coverage gap (“donut hole”) and remains in the coverage gap until total expenditures reach $4,700.1 While in the gap, patients pay 50 % of brand-name covered drugs and 85 % of gene ...