|More Part D Problems|
There was a flurry of disappointing news this week for those hoping Part D would be a success. Word of seniors falling into the doughnut hole earlier than expected first made headlines in the Cape Cod Times. The story was based on letters that seniors have been horrified to receive from their drug plans. Many seniors had been under the false impression that only individual-out-of-pocket costs paid by plan members counted toward the initial coverage limit of $2,250, which is where the doughnut hole begins. However, this was not correct. The truth is that the insurance companies’ costs also count toward the initial coverage limit of $2,250 – meaning that the doughnut hole is being reached much sooner. Seniors have therefore already begun footing the entire bill for their drug costs, while also paying an insurance premium. To make matters worse, the news goes against what many had been told previously. Even calls to the Medicare Part D hotline resulted in different answers.
In addition, the New York Times reported that hundreds of thousands of letters were being sent to beneficiaries enrolled in more than one drug plan, a result of beneficiaries switching plans and errors in disenrollment records. The letters inform participants they will be dropped from one plan and retain coverage under the most recent plan in which they were enrolled, leaving many to fret over the confusion this will cause. Non-English speakers are finding it impossible to get their prescriptions through the Part D program, according to the Los Angeles Times. Faced with the difficulties in obtaining prescriptions at pharmacies all over the country, non-English speakers are being told there are no available translators when they call their drug plan providers with questions. “Proponents of Part D don’t want to extend the May 15 deadline, but clearly there is still a crisis in the making,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “The program has been in effect for 3 months now. If the problems have not yet been worked out, I doubt the problems can be solved in just one month.”
This is an outrageous situation for our senior citizens (and their families). But I guess we just need to set that aside along with the Iraq War debacle, the homeland insecurity crisis, the self-destructing education system, the government ethics scandals, the foreign ploicy fiascos, the healthcare/insurance travesty..... you get the idea. Until you and I wake up our Democratic Party leadership (or throw them out on their asses where they belong) nothing is going to get any better, and most everything is going to get a lot worse.