Thursday, April 27, 2006

Most Severely Ill Senior Citizens Already in Medicare Part (D)isaster Doughnut Hole

We are putting our most severely ill senior citizens, who have already reached the Medicare Part (D)isaster prescription drug doughnut hole, through hell. The plan only covers you until you have been provided $2,250 in drugs. Then it pays nothing, not one thin dime, from dollar $2,251 to dollar $5,100 -- leaving the seniors to pay that $2,849 from their already meager incomes. The $2,849 gap has come to be known as the doughnut hole. For poor, ill seniors, it's more like the train tunnel where the light coming at you is the train.

Drug companies, taking full advantage, have dropped programs that used to provide poor seniors with free drugs. So the severely ill seniors are looking at months where they either pay for their drugs themselves, making it impossible for them to pay for the necessities of daily living; or worse, they go without the lifesaving drugs they need. While Bush is out there pushing tax cuts for billionaires, these poor folks are just trying to stay alive.

I can't even imagine the mental stress these poor people are going through, dealing with a serious illness and then dealing with financial pressures like this:

WaPo: Disabled, Seniors Confront Medicare Hole

WASHINGTON -- Mildred Lindley is stuck in a hole, the doughnut hole "right in the middle of it," she says that comes with Medicare's new prescription drug benefit.

Just four months into the program, Lindley has hit the point in her coverage where she has to pick up, at least for a few months, the full cost of the medication she takes to keep her bone marrow cancer in remission. As a result, her two-month supply of Thalomid shot up from $40 to a whopping $1,300.

"If I can't get it, I guess I'm here until the Lord takes me out. That's all I can do, because there's no way I can afford it," said Lindley, an 80-year-old from Jonesboro, Ark.

"I'm in the hole all right."


[T]here are beneficiaries who are convinced they will be worse off, many of whom had relied on free medicine provided by the drug manufacturers. They were told by the manufacturers this year that the free supplies would stop now that they were eligible for Medicare coverage.

Victoria D'Angelo of Denver relied on the patient assistance programs for many of her prescription needs last year. She enrolled in a Medicare drug plan when told by one of those companies that such help would end Jan. 1.

Now, that she's hit the doughnut hole, she's charging some of her drugs to her credit card. She said she'll worry about the ramifications later since she cannot afford to skip taking her Seroquel, which is used to control bipolar disorder.

"Basically, I've been to hell and back on this," said D'Angelo, referring to her disease. "I'm just deathly afraid of getting sick again."


Shirley Rhodes of Gladwin, Mich., figures that while she and her husband, Samuel, are in the doughnut hole, they'll have about $49.67 a month to live on after covering their drug expenses.

For that reason, they will wait until the last possible day to enroll in a Medicare drug plan. In the meantime, she'll continue to ask the pharmaceutical companies to help her out, and she'll work with Social Security officials to figure out how the family might qualify for extra assistance through Medicare.

"If we don't qualify, we will be giving our house back to the mortgage company, and then we'll still owe for the second and third mortgage," Rhodes said.


Lawmakers are also pleading with drug manufacturers to continue with patient assistance programs that allowed many low-income people to get free medicine.

"We've got a situation where it looks like the May 15 date has become an excuse for dropping the assistance that many Medicare beneficiaries rely on, and that's not right," said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

Previous posts: Medicare Part (D)isaster: Watch Out For That Hole (April 12, 2006)

President Out-of-Touch Moron Meets the Seniors
(March 19, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster: Making the Mentally Ill Sicker (February 6, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster Creating Havoc at Social Security Administration (February 4, 2006)

Right Wing Blogs Exhibit Myopia Over Medicare Part D(isaster)
(January 24, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster (January 20, 2006)

Operation Photo Op, Medicare Part D edition, 1.0 (January 18, 2006)

'Horrific at Best'
(January 9, 2006)

The Incompetence, The Corruption, and The Cronyism: Sunday, January 8, 2006
(January 8, 2006)

1 comment:

Danny Haszard said...

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