Donut holes and circuit breakers

Senior Services Center Elgin, Illinois Photo by Seth Gaines

As you may or may not know, I paid a visit to my folks in Elgin for a week starting June 15th. I drove there in one day by myself — an act that received exclamations of awe from a few people, but, in reality was pretty simple because there was little traffic and the weather was perfect.

I spent a few days hanging out with my mom — helping her go through some things in her “junk room” so she could donate some of it to her church for a rummage sale. When we weren’t going through old treasures or being ignored at In The Neighborhood Deli we could very well be found at Senior Services in Elgin.

Mom had gotten a phone call from someone at Senior Services suggesting she might qualify for help paying for medications and other things. This is called a Circuit Breaker. She was supposed to bring some documents to the center. When we got there the woman she was supposed to talk to was busy, but another woman was able to help us. Unfortunately mom didn’t bring in the correct documents so we were told to bring them in the next day. Basically they needed to know Mom and Dad’s combined income for the past year. If it was under a certain amount they would qualify for reduced rate on medications, license plate fees and property tax.

When we arrived back home mom located her income tax form and noted she qualified for the circuit breaker, so the next day we went back to the Senior Services Center and the same woman helped us. Mom feels as if she doesn’t deserve this — that someone else, more needy, should get it — but we explained to her that she was not taking it from anyone.

All told we spent a good 3 hours at the lovely art deco building on the corner of Fulton and Grove. Mom’s not ready to participate in the other activities they offer (dance lessons, bingo, celebratory dinners and lunches). I can see her point — doing things for senior citizens makes one admit to being one. Mom’s always felt (and looked) a lot younger than her years suggest.

I did a little research on “circuit breakers” and “donut holes”*, but still need to learn more about those terms as well as the whole Medicare Part D. It is far too complicated and even more-so to the older population to which it applies.

*apparently a donut hole “is the difference of the initial coverage limit and the catastrophic coverage threshold. After a Medicare beneficiary surpasses the prescription drug coverage limit, the Medicare beneficiary is financially responsible for the entire cost of prescription drugs until the expense reaches the catastrophic coverage threshold.” (thanks Wikipedia)

9 thoughts on “Donut holes and circuit breakers

  1. See, here I thought you were going to talk about old house rehab and a great donut place in Elgin to match the malt shop. Sigh. I think I need to get some lunch…


  2. There’s a lot to be said for public health. As my mother ages (and when my dad was ill) it was such a relief not to have to worry about their health costs.


  3. What bizarre terms! I was thinking along the same lines as Bridgett.

    I found out that when I turn 50 this year I can join the Seniors Centre and I can also join the Senior bowling league at the local bowling alley. Me, a senior? No way is that possible.


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