Government News
Part D Helpful Hints for New Plan Year
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 24 page 9-9

Open enrollment for the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) began November 15 and ends December 31 for the 2008 plan year. This means that some patients will switch plans and perhaps have drug coverage that is different from last year's (see Part D Hassles Driving Treatment Decisions).

For Medicare Advantage plans only, beneficiaries can make one change in enrollment—enrolling in a new plan, changing plans, or canceling a plan—between January 1, 2008, and March 31, 2008.

Each Medicare drug plan is different. CMS has created a Web site at<www.medicare.gov> to ease the burden of plan comparison shopping. At this site, beneficiaries can compare plans, check formularies, and get monthly premium and prescription drug costs. They can also call (800) MEDICARE for this information; TTY users should call (877) 486-2048.

Important information about special enrollment periods, coverage in the gap or "donut hole," low-income subsidies, enrollment, dual-eligible enrollees, and appeals is posted on the APA-sponsored site<www.mentalhealthpartd.org> and at<www.medicare.gov>.

In the meantime, here are a few Part D issues that psychiatrists should consider when trying to help their patients choose a drug plan:

APA's Office of Healthcare Systems and Financing urges psychiatrists who experience problems with Part D—including enrollment of patients, transition from other plans, continuity of care, and appeals processes—to report them by e-mail to PartD@psych.org or by phone at (800) 343-4671.

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