For those who don’t know, I’m disabled with autoimmune disease, so I’m on SSDI & Medicare. I just trucked out to the mailbox and got my Medicare & You: 2006 handbook, which told me on the front cover, “This year it’s different.”

No kidding.

What’s different is the drug coverage benefit — and I use those last two words in ways that would make Noah Webster roll in his grave.

Right now I have no drug coverage and I’m paying about $40/month average in meds (more when circumstances warrant), but as my illness progresses, I will definitely be paying more every month. Possibly much more. I get $814/month from SSDI and budgeting is already a work of faith held together by a string and a dirty joke.

The cost of enrolling in Medicare’s Rx plan is approximately $40/month. It has a $250 deductible, and after that, coverage is as follows:

    –I pay 25% of my yearly drug costs from $250 to $2,250, then
    –I pay 100% of the next $2,850, then
    –After I’ve come out of pocket $3,600 (which is pretty much impossible so long as I still have pesky little daily needs like food and shelter), I pay 5%

Sounds like I should just blow this off, right? Enroll later when it will make fiscal sense? BUT NO. Because as the handbook also tells me, “You can first join a drug plan from November 15, 2005 to May 15, 2006. In most cases, if you don’t join during this period, your next chance to join will be November 15, 2006 to December 31, 2006, and you will have to pay a penalty.” (emphasis mine)

Grr. Now instead of trading wisecracks with the hilariously perverted ladies & gents from the FBC, I have to spend the rest of the afternoon digging up more information so I know whether or not I can find a way through this maze that doesn’t involve my begging for tips while I stroll naked through the town square.

Please people, let’s find a way to wrest control back from the Republicans ASAP so they are no longer allowed to “help” people. I’m afraid those of us on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder can’t take much more of their “help”.

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