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>
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
or by phone at (800) 343-4671.