Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Medicare Part (D)isaster: Watch Out For That Hole

I read an article in the local paper, the Metrowest News, yesterday, about the Medicare Part (D) plan and the seniors who have found it helpful. Knowing as I do that the plan pays benefits up to $2,250 and then pays NOTHING from dollar $2,251 to dollar $5,100 -- leaving the seniors to cover that $2,849 by themselves, out of their social security and hopefully pensions and savings, I looked for that fact in the article. It's not mentioned in the AP article. It's become known as the 'doughnut hole'. $2,849 is a lot of money; you'd think a reporter would find that significant. Not always.

Metrowest News: Enrollment report
By Kevin Freking/ Associated Press
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Washington Post covers the Medicare Part (D)isaster drug benefit on its front page today, and likewise does not mention the doughnut hole.

Most Seniors Enrolled Say Drug Benefit Saves Money

The Christian Science Monitor covers the story more honestly:

Confusion remains as drug-plan deadline nears
In order to maximize savings, some seniors must sign up - and choose from dozens of different insurance plans - by May 15.

People may like their plan now, but [there is] a "doughnut hole" in the coverage. After a participant and his plan provider combine to spend $2,250 on drugs in a given year, the provider doesn't pay anything again until $5,100 has been spent. A Heritage Foundation study predicts that many participants will hit this "doughnut hole" next fall - and perhaps change their minds about the plan - just in time to vote in congressional elections.

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