Letter: Close costly loophole n Medicare Part D

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You would think paying for a plan to cover basic health needs would do just that — cover your health care needs. Unfortunately, Medicare beneficiaries still end up paying significantly out of their own pockets to cover the annual cost of their medicines.

According to a Medicare trustees annual report from 2017, more than 87% of Part D prescriptions are generic. A smaller percentage covers specialty drugs to help patients with more complex conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hepatitis C and more. No matter what medicines a person needs for their best health, the health plan they choose should cover the costs.

Thanks to a loophole in the Medicare Part D benefit, senior citizens and people with disabilities can be on the hook for thousands of dollars. This is in addition to the price they already pay for a plan that is supposed to cover their prescription drug needs.

It’s important to keep in mind that Medicare Part D is the only coverage that does not cap out-of-pocket costs for patients.

This month, the Senate Finance Committee members will finish their work on drug pricing legislation that addresses Medicare costs for seniors. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown are on this committee, and we urge their support to close the loophole and cap out-of-pocket costs for seniors in Medicare Part D.

Sue Roy, president, Ohio State Grange

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