The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released its Defined Standard Benefit parameters for 2012. The parameters set the basic limits for standard Medicare Part D prescription drug plan coverage for the year to come.

Next year will see a slight increase in values. For example, in 2012, Medicare beneficiaries in drug plans modeled on the CMS Defined Standard Benefit will see their initial deductible increase from $310 to $320. The standard initial coverage limit will also be going up from $2,840 to $2,930. This means that beneficiaries with drug costs over $244 are likely to fall into the “doughnut hole” next year.

To exit the doughnut hole in 2012, beneficiaries will need to spend $4,700, up from $4,550 this year. However, there will also be an increase in the discount for drugs purchased in the doughnut hole. Beneficiaries will receive a 14 percent discount on generic medications, double this year’s 7 percent, and will continue to receive 50 percent off brand name drugs.

Furthermore, beneficiaries should be aware of a change in the enrollment period for 2012, when they are permitted to add, change or drop their coverage. In previous years, the enrollment ran from November 15th through December 31st. This year, enrollment will commence on October 15th and end on December 7th.

For more on changes to Medicare coverage, see:

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