Testimonials of Seniors on the Plan

For most seniors, the Donut Hole means financial difficulty during the months they are in the coverage gap. When Medicare Part D was first implemented in 2006, most plans did not have a Donut Hole and most seniors thought that the Part D plan was designed to cover all of their prescriptions with a small co-pay. Within a year it became apparent that most of the Medicare Part D plans were going to be changing their drug formularies, raising the Part D premiums significantly, and implementing a "donut hole" in the Part D plan.

Given the fact that many seniors are living on a fixed income, the donut hole is especially challenging because their ability to offset the increased monthly costs of paying for their prescriptions is almost impossible and many find it necessary to get a job to help make the ends meet. The gap in coverage drives many seniors to resort to the potentially life-threatening option of taking only half of their medication thus reducing the drugs’ effectiveness. With the Medicare Part D plan, the government is offering limited coverage for an annual deductable, which increases yearly. Below are testimonials of seniors which are a part of the plan:

HELP! I have reached the Donut Hole. My income is less than $13,500 and I would qualify for all kinds of help — except I have some meager savings. Why should I be penalized for being prudent enough to save a few thousand for my old age? (Thinking that Congress and the AARP would help me with my old age — 80 — was a fantasy.) This gift to Big Pharma is a bad joke on old folks. Can you help people like me? - Romaine Galey Hon, Boise, ID “The good news- In spite of the US dollar falling to almost par with the Canadian dollar, drug prices at Canadian pharmacies are still far cheaper than you must pay through Plan D”. -Frank Keiser They said it would take about 6 months for most to get to the Donut Hole with Medicare. I just got a letter saying I have about $560.00 to go before I am there too. Then we have to pay for all our meds. Now I know I can't afford my meds and there must be others out there also that can't. What are we to do just wait for our bodies to fold up without all our meds? What is everyone doing? Is there any help for this, or do we just die? -Sunny, Virginia, USA

I have a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan and have already fallen into the doughnut hole. We haven't even finished up with the first quarter of the year 2009. My drug now costs me over $800.00 for a 30-day supply. It is an antibiotic that has no generic or competitors. So now I have to use my credit card and pay over 15% interest on the drug plus my monthly plan premiums, which provide no coverage during this time. I will have to take this drug for the rest of my life or until my credit card is maxed out; whichever happens first. -Submitted March 7, 2009- AURORA, CO

My husband went on Medicare two years ago and I am still working as a State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor. I see firsthand what the Part D doughnut hole does to the people with Medicare I counsel as well as how it has affected my husband and me. People going into Medicare are grateful to have the coverage until you sit down with them and go over the drug plans available under Part D. When they realize they will go into the doughnut hole in the 4th or 5th month and will have to pay out of pocket, they are devastated! We are fortunate to have a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program in New York that covers medications through the doughnut hole, but not everyone qualifies. In the case of my husband and me, we don't qualify because I am still working and we make too much money. But every August we have to take $810 out of our savings account for several months to cover his medications. We have always paid our way in life and I don't expect or want a handout, but I never knew I would be spending my hard-earned savings on medications in my old age! The doughnut hole is horrendous and devastating for those who cannot afford to cover their meds from savings.- Submitted February 12, 2009- ENDICOTT, NY

My husband, who is 74 years old, has had Part D for two years. In each of those years he fell into the doughnut hole at the end of September, even though we used a mail order pharmacy to save money. Whoever devised this plan certainly didn't have senior citizens' best interest in mind.- Submitted March 19, 2009- MORRISTOWN, NJ

In January of this year, when going to refill some of my prescriptions it was a startling shock when I was expecting to pay about $18.00 to $20.00 for my meds. I almost fell over when informed it would cost $317. Whereas before there was no annual deductible, now it was $295. All the brand-name drugs went up to $22 and the rest were also more, plus now I must pay $24.90 monthly to the plan. I have stopped taking one brand of medicine that would cost $63 for a refill. Since I must take two different doses of this medication it would cost $126 a month just for this one. Because of the 5 percent raise we got in January I no longer qualify for extra help. - Submitted March 30, 2009 - NEW BADEN, IL


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