New Online Tools Help Medicare Part D Beneficiaries Prepare for the Part D Doughnut Hole

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Medicare-PartD.com released a free, easy-to-use online Doughnut Hole calculator to help Medicare Part D beneficiaries and advocates estimate their potential prescription drug costs and coverage gap exposure for 2007 and 2008.

The website Medicare-PartD.com released a series of online calculators this past week designed to assist Medicare Part D beneficiaries with their estimation of prescription costs through 2007 and into 2008. Website users can enter medication costs as monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually to see how purchase patterns affect coverage gap timing. The user can also change other values including the amount of their initial deductible. The results of the doughnut (or donut) hole calculation are displayed simply and the user can choose to have a copy of the results sent to them via eMail at no charge. The 2007 online doughnut hole calculator can be found at http://www.Medicare-PartD.com/DoughnutHole2007.php.

The Part D doughnut hole or coverage gap is the part of a Medicare prescription drug plan where many Part D beneficiaries will again pay 100% of their prescription medication costs. Part D beneficiaries will enter the 2007 doughnut hole when their retail prescription costs reach $2,400. Last year, the doughnut hole or coverage gap began when retail prescription costs reached $2,250. The 2007 doughnut hole continues until the beneficiary spends a total out of pocket of $3,850 on covered prescriptions.

Millions of Medicare Part D beneficiaries will enter the coverage gap in 2007, with the majority falling into the doughnut hole over the next few weeks. Most Medicare beneficiaries who enter the doughnut hole will not receive any further prescription drug coverage benefit until the beginning of 2008.

The Medicare-PartD.com online doughnut hole calculator estimations are based on the yearly CMS standard plan and are available for 2006, 2007, and 2008 Part D plans. Actual Part D costs can vary depending on the user's current Part D plan design. Medicare Part D beneficiaries can first use the 2006 Calculator (http://www.Medicare-PartD.com/DoughnutHole2006.php) to compare their expenses and experience from last year with the calculator's estimated costs. The beneficiary can then work with the 2007 calculator to estimate their costs through the end of this year, taking into account any variations they noted in their 2006 calculations.

Most importantly, Part D beneficiaries who enjoyed complete doughnut hole coverage in 2006 and 2007 can work with the 2008 calculator to start preparing for next year when there may be no prescription drug plans providing the luxury of complete doughnut hole coverage. The 2008 online doughnut hole calculator can be found at http://www.Medicare-PartD.com/DoughnutHole2008.php.

Medicare-PartD.com is the largest private Medicare Part D website and is a joint development effort from National Insurance Markets, Inc and Q1Group LLC. Medicare-PartD.com maintains numerous online features designed to support Medicare beneficiaries, senior groups and insurance professionals.

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Campbell Johnson MBA, MSEd, JD
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