Q. I’ve been informed that I’m in the doughnut hole for Medicare. Wasn’t this eliminated? S.H., Charlotte, N.C.
A. Not entirely. Beginning in 2011, participants in the Medicare Part D drug plan program fall into the “doughnut hole” once they’ve spent $2,840 for covered drugs. Previously, you were required to pay the full cost of prescription drugs while you’re in the doughnut hole. Now you’re entitled to a 50% discount on covered brand-name prescription medications. And the cost of generic drugs in the doughnut hole is discounted 7%. The doughnut hole continues until the out-of-pocket cost reaches $4,550.
Tip: For this purpose, the out-of-pocket cost includes your annual deductible, co-payments and any co-insurance amounts.