AARP South Carolina says that health care reform must include closing what is known as the Medicare “donut hole.”The Medicare drug benefit, known as Medicare Part D, created an awkward gap in benefits, explains Teresa Arnold of AARP South Carolina.
“You would pay a premium, pay for your insurance, but the coverage would only go up to a certain amount and that amount changes every year. I think right now it will pay up through $2,700. But then for $2000 or $3000 you are stuck in what they call the donut hole,” says Arnold. That is where coverage resumes.
Arnold says this gap in coverage is a top issue for the AARP, which has endorsed the Affordable Health Care for America Act. “We want the coverage to be all the way through,” she says, “and in H.3962, they do eliminate the donut hole by 2019.”
Arnold says too many senior are having to choose between medication and groceries.
“I just talked to an AARP member who’s been calling me and we’ve been trying to figure out how to help her get coverage when she’s in that donut hole. She really doesn’t have a lot of income; she’s just on social security. She has a drug that’s over $200 a month and so she’s paying a premium but she’s not getting the coverage at this point,” says Arnold.
SC Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn says that 6,200 seniors in his district will immediately get Medicare gap drug coverage if the bill passes.