No Longer Caught in the Medicare "Doughnut Hole"

The costs of treating a debilitating illness forced her into foreclosure. The healthcare bill could finally bring relief

Three years ago, Jenna Smith, 48, of Paris, Maine, was an avid outdoorswoman, award-winning equestrian, entrepreneur and on-the-go mother of six.

Today the pain, exhaustion, sensory sensitivity and memory problems brought on by an extreme case of Lyme disease have devastated Jenna and her husband. They now live with her mother after losing their farm to foreclosure and burning through more than $100,000 in assets in the search for a cure for Jenna’s illness.

Much of the Smith’s money went to fill the gap in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage called the “doughnut hole.” Under Medicare Part D, only 75 percent of the first $2,830 in prescription drug costs are covered after a $310 deductible. After you hit that dollar amount, the next $3,610 comes out of your own pocket. Once you’ve paid that amount, Medicare drug coverage kicks in again, but you still contribute 5 percent of the drug’s costs. By closing this gap, health care reform will mean serious savings for Medicare recipients like Smith.

Next: Jenna’s story

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