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Medicare Drug Benefit Update:  2009 Plan Year Enrollment Begins

November 12, 2008

November 15 marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Medicare Part D drug benefit for 2009.  During this "open season" period for 2009 drug plan enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to select prescription drug coverage that goes into effect on January 1, 2009. The open season process ends on December 31.

As the 2009 plan year approaches, NAMI is watching closely to ensure that beneficiaries with serious mental illness, especially low-income dual eligibles, are able to maintain continued access to drug coverage that meets their complex treatment needs.  Of particular concern are the estimated 1.3 million dual eligibles and low-income subsidy (LIS) Medicare beneficiaries that are being required to switch to different prescription drug plans (PDPs) on January 1.  In addition, NAMI is also concerned about the more than 447,000 dual eligibles that are losing “deemed” status in 2009 and must now apply for the Part D LIS program to avoid increased costs next year. 

To learn more about the important issue of Medicare drug plan reassignment of dual eligibles and LIS beneficiaries for 2008,  click here.

Learn More about the 2008 Drug Plan Options

There are a number of important web-based tools to search available plan options, research whether or not a specific medication is on a plan’s formulary for 2008 – or is subject to an access restriction (placed on a tier requiring higher cost sharing, prior authorization, step therapy, quantity limit, etc.).  Most can be searched by zip code to check on availability by geographic region.  Here are a few links to these websites:

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

CMS 2009 Plan Finder.

CMS 2009 Formulary Finder

MAP-Rx Information on 2009 Open Season

Information for Dual Eligibles

Mental Health Part D

Access to Benefits Coalition