AP Newsbreak: Medicare's drug coverage gap shrinks

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | November 27, 2011 | 8:35 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare's prescription coverage gap is getting smaller and easier to manage this year for millions of older and disabled people with high drug costs.

That gap — known as the "doughnut hole" — will shrink about 40 percent for those unlucky enough to land in it this year. That's according to new Medicare figures in response to a request from The Associated Press.

The savings are thanks to discounts and other provisions in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law.

It's roughly the difference between $1,500 without the law and $900 after the savings.

More than 2 million beneficiaries already have gotten some help.

But it's unclear if the discounts will overcome older people's skepticism about the law, which cut Medicare to expand coverage for the uninsured.