Fran Garfinkle is a 70-year old retired small business owner and cancer survivor from Bethesda, Maryland. She's among four million seniors who will be trapped in the Medicare Part D coverage gap known as the “donut hole” this year.  Fran has seen first-hand how quickly retirement plans can change when confronted with skyrocketing health care costs, rising premiums and Part D’s flawed “donut hole” provision.  She fell into the donut hole for the first time last summer.
“We scrimped and saved and somehow I managed to find the money to buy the prescriptions I needed last year.  Then this May, I reached the “donut hole” again and the whole nightmare started from the beginning.  Like so many others, my husband and I are on a fixed income.  It’s pretty scary.  We pay for medicare plan, medicare supplement plan, prescription drug plan, dental plan and on top of all the copays, we are now paying 100% of my drug costs because I’m back in the “donut hole”...Fran Garfinkle, NCPSSM volunteer
Fran, a volunteer with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, will be joined by President Obama and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a national seniors Tele-Town Hall   event tomorrow.  Participants will talk about the donut hole and provisions in the new health care reform legislation, which will ultimately close the donut hole in addition to making many other improvements to Medicare. 80,000 seniors who’ve already fallen into the donut hole this year will begin receiving the first rebate checks this week to help close their coverage gap.  The $250 checks will continue to go to beneficiaries as more fall into the donut hole throughout 2010. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare is committed to providing America’s seniors with updated and detailed analyses of how healthcare reform legislation will affect their medical coverage in Medicare.  In addition to co-sponsoring tomorrow’s Tele-Town Hall event, we’ve released a new web video, “Health Reform and Seniors”, which is being shown during community meetings, town halls and grassroots events.  The video is available on the National Committee’s YouTube Channel . This video supplements the National Committee’s popular newsletter, Secure Retirement, which provides detailed coverage of health care reform in its spring issue.  The publication is in its second printing due to very high demand from seniors nationwide.