The Minneapolis Star Tribune had an important story about seniors with Medicare drug coverage already hitting the "doughnut hole" in their coverage.
The paper reports: "Millions of Americans are nearing that gap. Nearly two-thirds of the 11.8 million beneficiaries who bought drug policies without gap coverage will hit the doughnut hole this year -- on average in the next few weeks -- according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Simply put, the "doughnut hole" is the gap in the Part D benefit in which consumers must pay for all of their drug costs. In 2007, it will kick in after the first $2,400 in costs, with Part D coming back in to pay 95 percent of prescription costs beyond $5,451.25."
A state-sponsored senior help line reports calls from up to 450 seniors who have hit the hole and now need help paying for drugs. They report that many are shocked to hit the gap.
The paper portrays this as the second significant snafu in the program: the rocky start with much consumer confusion and now seniors worried and confused over hitting the hole so soon.
One woman, now paying $645 a month for her drugs and preparing to take a drug-buying bus trip to Canada, said in the story: "Congress was not thinking about people when it passed this law. It was thinking how they could make the drug companies and insurance companies even richer."