The Health Care Reform Act and the Donut Hole – What Does it Mean for Pharmacists?

by Jennifer Bradford on April 14, 2010

The Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) has been in the news a lot lately, and everyone is wondering what it will mean for them. Patients, healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, and even pharmacists are torn between being concerned and hopeful. Most of the media attention has focused on how this bill is going to help individuals or how much money it is going to cost to implement. However, not a lot of people are talking about the job growth and boost to the economy that could result from the Health Care Reform Act and its impact on the donut hole in Medicare.


It sounds odd to speak of donut holes and Medicare in the same sentence, but these donut holes are not like the kind you would have with your morning coffee. In regards to Medicare, the term Donut Hole refers to a gap in coverage. Specifically, for our purposes, the gap in coverage for medication. Right now, the gap begins after a patient has purchased $2,380 worth of prescription medications. At that point, the patient must then pay for the next $3,610 of their medication before prescription coverage begins again at $6,440. A lot of the people on Medicare have huge prescription costs, and many of them can’t afford to purchase more than $3,000 worth out of pocket. This means that many of those people stop purchasing medications altogether after they reach the first limit. This is bad for the patient, the pharmacy, and everyone involved.

The Health Care Reform Act begins working almost immediately to begin closing this gap. After several years, the Donut Hole should be completely gone. This is significant for pharmacy owners and workers because the more coverage those patients have, the more medications they will be able to afford. The more medications that are purchased, the better the pharmacy will do financially, and the more technicians and pharmacists they will be able to hire. Those newly hired workers will have more disposable income to spend, which will further help the economy recover. The HCRA has the potential to greatly stimulate this job sector, and job prospects for all of those working in a pharmacy will increase along with the implementation of the Health Care Reform Act.

What does this mean for you right now if you are, or are interested in becoming, a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician? It means your job security, ability to relocate, and possibly a positive impact on salary.

Are you excited about the possibilities the Health Care Reform Act is bringing. What aspect of the act are you most looking forward to? Are there any benefits to the act you think are being overlooked?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

amy 04.21.10 at 7:55 pm

HCRA Liberal BS and glittering generalities! How are those individuals who cannot afford to pay for non covered medicare prescriptions i.e. the donut hole, going to pay for an Obamacare health plan? Also, if they cannot afford to pay for prescriptions which exceed the $2380.00 limit, how are they going to pay the fine for not paying their government health care bill?

Among the best 04.26.11 at 6:53 am

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healthcareguide4u 04.26.11 at 9:10 pm

This means that many of those people stop purchasing medications altogether after they reach the first limit. This is bad for the patient, the pharmacy, and everyone involved.

blueskiis 07.02.12 at 12:11 am

@Amy..The bill states those ‘who can afford to get health care must get it’…If not, pay 1% tax. Perhaps many of the more affluent folks will find that 1% tax a lot less than the health care…but I hope not! I for one am tired of stuggling to make sure I have insurance while those with more money get help, as needed, on my dollar. I’m a RN & feel this is an excellant idea.


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