According to an announcement made by federal government representatives, Floridians on Medicare saved more than $96 million in prescription drug costs in 2011 all because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act.
The savings arose because generic drugs were discounted by seven percent to help people who had no coverage due to Medicare’s infamous “donut hole.” A 50-percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs is helping them, too. The donut hole is the gap between regular and catastrophic coverage in Medicare’s prescription drug benefits.
In spite of no hike in premiums, the government also announced that private insurance companies were neither dropping out of the Medicare market nor increasing the plan prices. In fact, average plan premiums were even decreasing.
Nationwide, 2.65 million Medicare beneficiaries were able to save more than $1.5 billion on their prescriptions, which averages to about $569 for every person. In Florida, people saved up to $563 and 171,605 beneficiaries are currently hampered by this gap in Medicare’s coverage.
It is expected that we will see a 14-percent discount on generic drugs this year, too. In addition, the government will continue to offer discounts on both brand-name and generic drugs until 2020. At that time, beneficiaries who are in the Medicare coverage gap will receive a 75-percent discount on all prescriptions, which will essentially close the coverage gap.
The Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson has said that the average monthly premium for Medicare Prescription Drug plans will cost about $30 in 2012, down about 76 cents from 2011.
Can Medigap Plans Work With Medicare Part D Plans?
Even if you supplement Medicare with a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan, you may also enroll in one of the ten Medigap plans. During a six-month period that begins on the first day of the month in which you become 65 and you are enrolled in Part B, your application for a Medigap plan is guaranteed to be accepted regardless of your health problems. You may switch to a different plan during this time, and guaranteed acceptance also applies to the application for the other plan.
After this open enrollment period expires, insurance companies are not required to accept your application for a Medigap plan, but certain states provide additional periods of similar open enrollments. Insurance companies may also randomly offer types of open enrollment, but these may include certain restrictions.
If you’re under 65, federal law does not require that insurance companies accept your application for a Medigap plan, but certain states do have that requirement.
You may also be guaranteed that your application will be accepted outside of your period of open enrollment if you lose your health coverage. If you are more than 65 years of age, this guarantee applies to Medigap plan A, B, C, F, K and L. If you are under 65, this guarantee applies only to Medigap Plan A. Generally, this guarantee only lasts for 63 days from the date that your coverage ends or the date of the notice that your coverage is ending.