The American Pharmacist Association here along with Dr. Timothy Covington, professor and director of the Managed Care Institute at the McWorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and Prilosec OTC, owned by Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, have developed an educational program to help seniors avoid the Medicare Part D coverage gap, or doughnut hole. The program aims to both help seniors understand how they reach the gap, and provide them with simple tips to help them avoid or delay reaching the gap. Educational materials and a website, www.managepartd.com
, make information and tips available to seniors. "While there is information out there about Medicare Part D, it's not always easy to understand or decipher," said Covington, who is co-author of the educational materials. The gap in coverage is built into many Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to keep the costs of the benefit down. The "hole" begins when a beneficiary spends $2,250 on prescription drugs. The beneficiary then loses coverage on drugs until their spend increases to a total of $3,600 at which point they qualify for "catastrophic coverage." Beneficiaries with catastrophic coverage will pay about 5% of their remaining drug costs for the year.