Project for Doughnut Hole Tool Kit

Quick Links

The Basic Steps

Step 1: Gather Your Friend's Information

Privacy note: After you close the calculator, none of the information will be saved, so privacy will be protected.

Write down the following information:

  • Your friend’s zip code
  • The exact name of their current Medicare Part D plan (many sound similar)
  • A list of the prescription medications they are currently taking

Step 2: Start Using the Calculator

Find the calculator online at

When AARP’s Doughnut Hole Calculator appears on-screen, enter your friend’s zip code and select their Medicare Part D plan from the drop-down menu.

Step 3: Enter Your Friend's Drugs

Enter the list of your friend’s medications in the online Medicine Cabinet.

You can recalculate yearly expenses each time you switch to a new medication by adding up the monthly costs under Explanation of Monthly Drug Costs.

Step 4: View the Report

When the drug list is complete, click on Next to view the report. The report will detail if and when your friend could fall into the Part D doughnut hole. When a person hits this gap, he or she is responsible for his or her drug costs, minus the 50% discount on prescription drugs and 21% discount on generic drugs. (The generic drug discount will increase to 28% in 2014.)

Under the bar graph, click on Click Here for a More Detailed Explanation of Monthly Drug Costs.

Review the explanation with your friend. You may wish to print this page for reference.

Step 5: See Your Options

Even if your friend won't hit the doughnut hole, you can continue to use the tool to look at how he or she can save money on prescription drugs by using a less-costly drug. Simply click on the Any Options to Save Money? link beside the drugs listed in your friend's Medicine Cabinet and then recalculate the costs with the new choice.

Some medications may have no lower-cost alternatives, while others may have up to three lower-cost options. Some of the alternatives are generic drugs; others may be therapeutically similar alternatives.

To switch to a less expensive drug, your friend will need to talk to his or her doctor. Click on Switch Back to the original prescription to print out a letter to the doctor asking him or her to consider lower-cost alternatives.

Even if your friend isn't at risk of hitting the doughnut hole, suggest that he or she consider switching to less expensive drugs to save money – but only if his or her doctor agrees with switching medications.

You must click on Print Letter to Doctor for each medication that your friend might want to switch.

Step 6: Print the Wallet-Sized List

Regardless of whether your friend finds possible cost savings, be sure to print the wallet-sized list of the drugs your friend is taking and a few extra copies, for example, to give to his or her family members or stick on the refrigerator door.

Be sure to print the letters and wallet cards and take notes if you need to. The calculator will not save any information you enter! This is to ensure that every user's privacy is protected.

Step 7: Inspire Others on!


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