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The Medicare Part D donut hole, or Coverage Gap, is one of four stages you may encounter during the year while a member of a Part D prescription drug plan. Specifically, the donut hole is the point in the year when your prescription benefits change because the total cost paid by you and the plan have reached the Initial Coverage Limit. If you enter the donut hole, you may have to pay a higher price for your medications until the next January 1, or until your out-of-pocket costs qualify you for another level of insurance called Catastrophic Coverage.
A prescription drug deductible is the amount you pay for drugs before we begin to pay our share. Members of Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO Value Rx, Basic Rx, and Saver Rx plans have a Part D (prescription drug) deductible for drugs on Tier 3, Tier 4, and/or Tier 5.
All other plans do not have a Part D deductible. If you are a member of Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO Value Rx, Basic Rx, or Saver Rx plan:
The deductible counts toward any combination of drugs on Tiers 3, 4, and 5. You will not pay a separate deductible for each tier. After you pay the deductible, you will pay only your copay for Tier 3, 4, and 5 drugs.
Most members with a Part D prescription drug plan will start in the Initial Coverage stage. (If you are a member of Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO Value Rx, Basic Rx, or Saver Rx plans, see the Deductible stage section above for information on your Part D deductible.)
While in this stage, you are responsible for:
The drug manufacturer pays 70% of the cost of Part D brand name medications and Tufts Health Plan pays the remaining 5%. The entire cost of the Part D brand name drug, minus the 5% that Tufts Health Plan is responsible for, goes toward your out-of-pocket maximum of $6,350. Once your total out-of-pocket costs reach the maximum of $6,350, you enter the Catastrophic Coverage stage.
*If you are a member of HMO Prime Rx Plus plan, you pay your Tier 1 and Tier 2 copays for tiers 1 and 2, 25% of the cost for all other generic drugs, and 25% of the cost for brand name medications.
You enter the Catastrophic Coverage stage when your total out-of-pocket costs (what you pay PLUS what the drug manufacturer pays) reach $6,350. While in Catastrophic Coverage you will pay the greater of: 5% of the total cost of the drug or $3.60 for generic drugs and $8.95 for brand-name drugs. You will remain in the Catastrophic Coverage Stage until January 1.
This process resets every January 1st.
Learn more about the Medicare Part D donut hole
Help is available if you are in the donut hole or are getting close to it. There are many resources available to individuals who reach, or at risk of reaching, the gap: