It’s a doughnut hole that’s not at all sweet. Every year, thousands of Coloradans on Medicare Part D lose prescription drug coverage after their yearly costs reach $2,700. Coverage resumes when their costs rise past $7,100 dollars.
That gap, where patients pick up the full cost, is called the “doughnut hole.” Kelli Fritts, associate state director for AARP-Colorado, says AARP hears all the time from people caught in the doughnut hole who are forced to make tough decisions.
“ ‘Do I buy my medication, do I eat today?’ We’ll hear stories about people cutting back their medication; that puts their health at risk,” Fritts said.
Fritts said enacting the Medicare Part D program was the first step to make prescription drugs affordable, but more needs to be done to help people caught in the doughnut hole.
“More people need to be eligible for the low-income subsidy, and we need to look at creative ways to fill that doughnut hole for people who can’t afford their costs out of pocket.”
Fritts said AARP has come up with an online tool to help people in or near the doughnut hole. “You enter your zip code and the different prescription drugs that you’re on, and it gives you different options on how you can save on those prescription drugs.”
Congress is considering a measure that would halve the cost of name-brand drugs for people in the doughnut hole. Some opponents worry about the cost of such a program, but supporters point out that the cost of people foregoing vital medications and ending up in emergency rooms could be far greater.
The AARP online doughnut hole tool is at aarp.org.
— Colorado News Connection