States Consider Scaling Back Funding for Medicare Drug Benefit Amid Economic Crisis
At least six states have considered eliminating or reducing financial assistance for those enrolled in the Medicare prescription drug benefit program who are affected by the "doughnut hole," or gap in coverage, the AP/Boston Herald reports. According to the AP/Herald, the governors of Rhode Island and Vermont and lawmakers in South Carolina have proposed plans to eliminate such financial assistance programs, while Massachusetts has reduced funding for its program. Meanwhile, proposals in New York and Connecticut to limit financial help have been dismissed.
Beneficiaries enrolled in the drug benefit have coverage until total spending reaches $2,700 and then must pay out-of-pocket for their medications until the total spending reaches $4,350, after coverage. At least 16 states provide financial help to beneficiaries who have reached the coverage gap (AP/Boston Herald, 5/27).