Avoiding the (Medicare) “Doughnut Hole”

Depressed Medicare beneficiaries in the so-called coverage doughnut hole were more likely to cut back on their antidepressants than those who had full insurance coverage, a study has found.

Even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Obamacare by any other name – in place and affirmed by the Supreme Court, the costs paid and lifestyles lived by many is being tied to the “doughnut hole.” This is especially true for seniors taking depression medications.

As recently reported in Med Page Today, a new study by Yuting Zhang, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, Medicare may not fully cover depression medications for seniors, despite the ACA. The article is titled “Antidepressants 'Fall' Through Doughnut Hole.”

If you are unfamiliar with the “doughnut hole” issue, you are not alone. It is the coverage gap created by Medicare Part D. For those whose income is at the lower end, there tends to be coverage. Likewise, for those who have an upper-end income, there is still coverage…with a gap in between.

According to the new study, and sheer intuition, patients that fall within the doughnut hole are associated with a significant drop in medication use – 12% on average. That is always relevant, but perhaps especially so in the case of depression medication. While discontinuing any prescribed medication is never advisable, it is often easier to justify foregoing depression medication than other medications.

I recommend reading the original article for more details regarding this study, should this issue be relevant to you or someone you love.

Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss how we can help you protect everyone you love.


Reference: Med Page Today (July 5, 2012) “Antidepressants 'Fall' Through Doughnut Hole

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