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Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

The debate over drug benefits and health insurance plans has made for quite a loud debate on capitol hill. It has become one of the biggest--and in fact seemingly only--focal points for the Republicans in office who have vowed that their only act in office would be to overturn the healthcare act that was passed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court. In spite of the grand debate that is somehow still taking place, it is important for all beneficiaries and Medicare holders to understand their existing prescription drug benefit and the changes that will come as a result of the new healthcare act.

In 2003 there was the Medicare Modernization Act which provided a voluntary outpatient drug benefit for patients who had Medicare. This was called "Part D" of the act and it went into effect in 2006. With it, fifty two million disabled and elderly people had access to drug benefits through private plans that the federal government had approved. Those beneficiaries who had modest assets and low incomes were able to get a hold of this cost sharing and lower premium plan. In 2010 the Affordable Care Act made a new changes to this program such as phasing out an existing coverage gap before the year 2020.

The Medicare drug benefit is provided through prescription drug plans such as PDP's as well as PPO's and HMO's that would cover Medicare benefits. In 2014 there were an additional eleven hundred PDP's offered across the different regions. Now beneficiaries within different states can choose from among over two dozen MA-PD and PDP plans.

Part D of this act sponsors plans that provide enhanced benefits such as a deductible of three hundred and ten dollars as well as a co-insurance of twenty five percent. The gap is being patched between the cost of drugs for different time periods and in different states.

Overall, the debate about health care is still brewing. People are calling each other names and efforts are being made to get rid of the plan. But the act is still a legal piece of legislature that has already taken place. As such, it is important that Medicare holders understand the prescription drug benefit that they have and the changes that the new healthcare act will have on those benefits. Only with this information can beneficiaries make informed decisions about their health.