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Falling Into The 'Doughnut Hole'

June 24, 2009, 5:10 PM by Kelli Grant

Falling Into The 'Doughnut Hole'
If you're enrolled in a Medicare Part D Plan, the term "doughnut hole" may be familiar.  In fact, by the end of the summer, thousands of South Dakota seniors will have fallen into that coverage gap, which means they'll take care of 100 percent of their prescription drug costs. But there’s now a new tool to help.

AARP has designed a new tool to help seniors and their families avoid a major out of pocket expense, one that often leaves them making a choice between their prescriptions and day-to-day necessities.

About 33 percent of South Dakotans on Medicare fall into that doughnut hole. That means right about now many seniors are getting bills from the pharmacy that they simply cannot pay. That's where AARPs Web site comes in handy.  It can now help seniors determine if and exactly when they'll fall into the coverage gap.

“It will analyze if there are any cheaper generic alternatives for the brand name drugs you are taking.  As well, it will create a letter that you can take with you to the doctors that says, 'I understand that I am currently taking this drug but there are generic alternatives available.  Would these be appropriate for me?,'” Sam Wilson, Associate State Director of AARP South Dakota, said.

AARP's Doughnut Hole Calculator

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