Pat is a retired Nurse Practitioner from Binghamton who has been on Medicare since 2009. In the fall of 2010, Pat hit the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap – otherwise known as the “donut hole,” leaving her with hundreds of dollars worth of medications to pay for.
The retail cost of her medication was well out of her price range, but Pat could not risk going without them. She knew what this could entail because, as a former Nurse Practitioner, she had seen many of her patients go through the same thing.
“I remember one patient going without medications. Sometimes he would eat and go without medications; other times he would go with the medications and not eat.”
When Pat was working, she would often provide her patients with money for food so that they could afford their medication. Pat did not have this option for herself, but with her experience in the medical field she knew that her doctor might be able to give her free samples of her medications. But, the samples did not fulfill all of her medication needs. In the end, Pat still had to pay more than $300 out of her fixed income for her medicines.
Then in February, she received the $250 rebate check allotted to her under the Affordable Care Act to help pay for the cost of her prescription drugs in the donut hole. Pat was able to use that money towards her daily expenses, which she was struggling to keep up with due to her medication costs.
“That eased the burden, you’re darned right.”
This year, Pat is more than happy to receive the discounts for her drugs and looks forward to getting her preventative testing done without having to pay co-pays, along with her coverage gap assistance through New York State’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program.