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The coverage gap costs are decreasing

While Medicare costs seem to always be increasing, the good news is that the coverage gap, part of Part D, is going down.

The coverage gap, also known as the “doughnut hole” is a temporary limit on what Part D, the drug plan, will cover for prescription drugs. In other words, the doughnut hole is defined as the period where you pay for your drugs out of pocket.

Not everyone will enter the doughnut hole. The doughnut hole begins only after you and your plan have spent a certain amount on covered drugs. In 2017, that doughnut hole or gap starts when total drug costs reach $3,700. If a beneficiary is in that hole, they get a 60 percent discount on brand-name drugs and a 49 percent federal government subsidy for generic medications.

In addition, there also is catastrophic coverage where the government starts picking up most drug costs when out-of-pocket expenses for a patient are over $4,950.

It is always a good idea to check into your health insurance options periodically. It is important for you to understand your coverage and how it changes.