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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    Saturday, November 25, 2006

    Good Enough? The Wall Street Journal says that most seniors are satisfied with their current Medicare prescription coverage:

    Despite seniors' early frustrations due to system glitches and often-confusing choices, polls indicate the taxpayer-subsidized drug insurance now is more popular among beneficiaries. Monthly premiums are lower than the government had forecast, and more private insurers than expected are offering the plans.

    "It's working better than ... I thought possible," says former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, in an interview. "Why change something that's working?"

    I suspect those polls are old. My sense was that at first, when the newspapers were clamoring about how the whole program was too complicated for old folks, my Medicare patients were very happy with it. They either no longr had to pay the whole cost out of pocket or they were getting better coverage than their insurance company gave them. (Those whose insurance companies already offered better deals didn't have to switch.) But now, most people have entered that crazy "donut" period and have to pay their own drug costs. They aren't happy any longer.

    posted by Sydney on 11/25/2006 10:27:00 AM 2 comments


    "have to pay their own drug costs. They aren't happy any longer"

    Sadly, this about sums up the whole of politics in the US (not to mention Americans' view of "happiness"). Truthfully I'm not so happy about all this myself. I guess what I need is an antidepressant to cure my unhappiness.

    John Fembup

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 AM  

    "But now, most people have entered that crazy "donut" period"

    Actually - most people have not.

    The WSJ article you linked states the latest estimates that 3.5 million of the 22.5 million people enrolled in Medicare D will enter the donut hole before the end of 2006. If that estimate is fully realized, it will represent 17% of the enrolled population. Another way of saying this, is that 83% of the population will have incurred Rx expenses of $2,250 or less, of which Medicare D will have reimbursed each person up to $1500.

    Keep in mind that the donut hole is not a bottomless pit. It's $2,850 for 2006. Not everyone who reaches the donut hole will go all the way thru it. Therefore many who reach the donut hole will pay less than that maximum of $2,850.

    Also keep in mind that everyone who reaches the donut hole in 2006 will have received $1500 in Medicare D reimbursements already.

    Finally, anyone who goes all the way thru the donut hole is eligible for 95% remibursement of all further Rx expenses for the year, no matter how much they may be.

    John Fembup

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:43 PM  

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