Bob Evenson, Contributor

Did you know the original proposal for Medicare had outpatient prescription drug coverage? This benefit was under Part B and was dropped on the grounds of unpredictability and the potentially high cost.

In 1988, a prescription benefit was enacted, but one year later it was repealed. Finally, on December 08, 2003 President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act giving Medicare beneficiaries prescription drug coverage (Part D).

Part D of Medicare is a federal program to subsidize the cost of prescription drugs for those individuals who have Part A and/or Part B. Each year during the Annual Open Enrollment period beneficiaries can evaluate their current coverage and explore the new Plans for the next calendar year. Since each Plan has its own list of covered drugs, tiers, and covered pharmacies, it is encouraged that every beneficiary takes the time to review the changes for the year.

Medicare also makes changes. For example, 2018 Plans with a deductible can charge you up to $405 and the coverage gap (donut hole) will begin at $3,750. Your percentage for brand-name drugs in the coverage gap will be 35% and 44% for generic drugs. The new TrOOP or the true out-of-pocket cost is $5,000. These are just a few of the new changes.

The days of just receiving your renewal and filing it away or letting it sit on the dining room table are over. Each open enrollment period you must review your Part D coverage making sure the Part D plan you choose for the next year fits your needs.

Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars. We are your local expert in Medicare planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation. Please feel free to call us at 785-270-4593. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

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