SOURCE: AARP

June 23, 2009 15:34 ET

AARP "Doughnut Hole" Deliveries in Illinois Remind Congress to Fix Medicare

Volunteers Across the State Bring Strong Message and "Doughnut Holes" to Health Care Reform Efforts

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - June 23, 2009) - As Medicare Part D takes center stage in the fight for health care reform, AARP volunteers in Illinois are driving the message home on the need to close the coverage gap, known as the "doughnut hole," in the program.

Delivering a strong message and doughnut holes to their members of Congress, the volunteers are urging them to tackle soaring drug costs for millions of Americans struggling to pay for their medications, including the over 3 million who fall into the Medicare doughnut hole each year.

"The Medicare doughnut hole continues to be a black hole for millions of people across the nation -- forcing them to stop taking their drugs or cut their pills due to soaring costs," said Bob Gallo, AARP State Director.

On the heels of the recently announced agreement by the pharmaceutical industry and Senate leaders, which would substantially fill the doughnut hole by providing most people in the doughnut hole with a 50% discount off their brand name drugs, AARP volunteers across the nation are reminding Congress that more needs to be done as drug prices continue to increase at nearly triple the rate of inflation.

"AARP commends those leaders, including the President, who have moved to help people struggling in Medicare Part D, and we're here to let keep up the pressure to close the doughnut hole and drive down drug prices," added Gallo.

While 32% of Illinois' Medicare Part D beneficiaries fell into the doughnut hole, a recent AARP survey found that over 21% of AARP members in the state didn't fill or delayed getting a prescription filled because it was too expensive. Nearly 20% of those surveyed said they had taken less medicine than their doctor prescribed to make it last longer and cut back on other basic necessities to afford their prescriptions.

AARP also announced a new tool today to help people avoid the Medicare the coverage gap. The AARP Doughnut Hole Calculator, available at www.aarp.org/doughnuthole, guides visitors through their prescription drug options using localized information about their plans and prescriptions to determine if or when they will fall into the coverage gap. Visitors can view a graph of their out-of-pocket spending by month, look up lower cost drugs for their conditions, create a Personal Medication Record and print out personalized letters to their doctors to help start a conversation about safely switching prescriptions.

For details on AARP's health reform priorities, visit http://www.aarp.org/governmentwatch.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    David Irwin
    (312) 458-3621

    Gerardo Cardenas
    (312) 458-3609