I never worried about things like retiring on my Social Security. Frankly, I always thought I would be dead long before I needed it. Not only did I not worry, I never bothered to learn about it. Fortunately, my sister versed herself well on the ins and outs so she handled everything for my mother when she reached 62. But now, I have issues. First, I have lived much longer than I anticipated – I must have the “Ozzy Osbourne Gene” – so there exists a very real possibility I may continue on until retirement age. But second, I married a much older man.

If you had asked me, even a year ago, what a donut hole was, I would have said something to the effect of, “Don’t they call them Munchkins?” But now it is a subject I worry about every day my husband mentions filling a prescription. Had I not been laid off a year ago, it would not have mattered. My husband would have been on my Blue Cross. But when I got laid off and discovered how much my Cobra payment was going to be, I dropped my family plan and have just individual coverage. My son had just gone to work full time so he was no longer an issue and I figured my husband had just gone on Social Security and had Medicare. Bad move. No one warned me about the damn donut holes. My mother didn’t know enough to warn me as she is as healthy as a horse and rarely takes a Tylenol for a headache much less any prescription medicine. My husband, on the other hand, takes prescriptions that cost well over $500/month. My first shock came when I discover that not only does Medicare have deductibles, they are significantly higher than when my husband was on my plan. Hey, these are old people, many on fixed incomes, they should not have a deductible. Then one day he walks in and announces he has reached his donut hole and his prescription had cost him $192 that day. Well, my jaw dropped to the floor, and I got a lesson on what the heck a donut hole is.

It is not bad enough that we have to live with this, but then the other day I had to read an editorial from Sheldon Whitehouse patting himself on the back for helping bring about the end of the donut hole. REALLY Sheldon? Well, first there is that $250 check. Big whoop. That will pay for two prescriptions, one time. Next year my husband will get 50% off on BRAND NAME drugs when in the donut hole. (What about generics? They aren’t that cheap either.) Gee, so instead of paying $200 we can’t afford, we can pay $100 we can’t afford. Small comfort. By 2020, seniors won’t be paying for their prescriptions. Okay Sheldon, I realize you aren’t the brightest bulb we ever sent to Washington, but let me try to explain this. These are SENIOR citizens. That means they are OLD. That means that many of them will be dead before 2020 ESPECIALLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY FOR THEIR DAMN MEDICINE!!! So thanks for the favor Sheldon, but if you really want to help, I know you have a lot of money so perhaps you can send me a check for $6000 to cover my husband until he is out of this year’s donut hole. And as I expect he has another 10 years in him (if I don’t kill him), perhaps you could do that every year until 2020. I am good for it. I will pay you back. I promise. Just as soon as you, and the bang up job you are doing in DC, turn the economy around and I get a job again.

Oh, and ladies, my mother gave me a lot of reasons why I should not marry a much older man. I didn’t listen. And for the most part, she was wrong. But she never told me about donut holes so consider this your warning.

Published by Kate Eileen Shannon

Artist, Crafter, Writer, purveyor of ephemera and bagatelle

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