Good news for seniors in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program: The infamous “doughnut hole” will end in 2019. Medicare Part D enrollees now have to pay a higher share of the cost for drugs above a certain threshold. For 2018, they pay 25% for prescriptions until their total drug costs exceed $3,750, and then they pay 35% of the cost of brand-name drugs and 44% for generics
until their out-of-pocket spending hits $5,000. This coverage gap has been narrowing each year since 2010 and was slated to disappear in 2020 under Obamacare. The recently passed budget law moves the end date up one year. Beginning in 2019, Part D enrollees’ out-of-pocket share will be 25% until they reach the $5,000 level.