The "Doughnut Hole": Not as Delicious as it Sounds - Medicare's Hollow Heart Written by my good friend (and former co-intern) Britt Cass, this speech brings out the main flaws about the new Medicare Part D plan, namely the "Doughnut Hole", a gap in coverage for citizens who have used up between $2,250 and $5,100 of medication on the plan. For the intervening period, they get NO coverage whatsoever, NONE! And you'd think, "well if I'm not getting any benefits, I shouldn't be paying the Medicare premiums, right?" You'd be wrong of course, as the beneficiaries of Medicare not only have to pay for all the drug costs in that hole, but they have to pay the Medicare insurance premiums all the while.

That's a pretty ugly hole to fall into. How many people will fall into it I wonder...

It’s hard to say for sure how many people will fall out into the doughnut hole. The best guess available comes from the Kaiser Family Foundation, whose conservative estimate is that almost 7 million people will reach the gap in 2006. Out of these, many will never be able to spend the $2,850 required to get out of it. And the doughnut hole is getting bigger every year: The law is written in such a way that the actual amount of money that people will have to spend to get out of the hole is going to increase annually.

Well, I suppose the new Medicare Plan is just going to leave that pit to hell wide open, and let more and more people drop in as they scrape to try to get out of the hole. So much for a golden retirement, huh?