Nearly 7,500 low and moderate-income seniors in Maryland, who fall into the so-called "doughnut hole" gap of the Medicare drug benefit, will be able to qualify for subsidized coverage under legislation approved by the state General Assembly on Friday, the Washington Post reports (Rein, Washington Post, 3/14). Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) in February announced a partnership with CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to subsidize prescription drug costs for seniors.

Under the partnership, the subsidized coverage would begin when drug costs for an individual reach $2,510 and end when spending reaches $5,725. Residents with annual incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level would receive a subsidy during the coverage gap. The amount of the subsidy would vary based on how far seniors fall into the gap. The subsidy, which is expected to cost $7 million annually, would be paid for by CareFirst and would not require state funds (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 2/19).

O'Malley is expected to sign the bill into law (Washington Post, 3/14).

Reprinted with kind permission from kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation© 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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