A Practical Physicians' Guide to the Medicare Drug Benefit Plan
Recent commentaries on Medicare Part D highlight both the early failings and the successes of the program. However, regardless of one's opinions about the program, Part D is a reality that millions of Medicare beneficiaries must address now and in the future. The ultimate economic, policy, and clinical success of the Medicare drug benefit plan depends on its transparency and ability to be navigated together by patients, physicians, and other parties. Although Medicare Part D is likely to evolve considerably in the future, it will continue to present elderly adults with numerous plan options and rules and therefore present persistent challenges for patients and physicians. By focusing on a few crucial aspects of Part D and taking advantage of available resources, physicians can simplify Part D for their patients, help them make informed decisions about enrollment and plan selection, and possibly help them save money with their current PDP. This may, in turn, reduce beneficiaries' out-of-pocket prescription costs, thereby improving patients' access to medications and possibly their medication adherence and health outcomes as well.
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