Hi MJL -- I'm happy to answer your question re Medicare.
With Medicare Part D in 2011 -- your out-of-pocket initial expense is $4550. After that, you're in the catastrophic coverage and then pay 5% of the retail cost of gleevec -- or $200+ per month. It's way too much money!
Thankfully, I did get help from the LLS as my income is low enough to qualify for the co-pay assistance of $5,000. The CML money in the co-pay help program is depleted for now -- and I've heard that it may not be funded the next fiscal year. Not good news and I hope it's incorrect.
Some states have plans to help those with lower incomes -- MA does and I'll get into that next year, assuming it's still around.
The donut hole will be phased out gradually, but I'm not entirely sure what all that means. I think by 2020 it's gone -- but what that actually means to us, I don't know. I hope it means good news -- though it's a long way off.
If you have any other questions, please ask. Medicare is great for people who do not take pricey drugs -- but, for those of us who do, it stinks. All the oral chemo drugs used to be 100% paid for under Medicare Part B -- but with the Bush admin's development of Medicare Part D, all these drugs got pushed into it and seniors/disabled got screwed.
I did find out, though, that Medicare does pay for however many PCR tests that our oncologists deem necessary. This was my original question -- and it's important to me because I want to reduce my dosage and I want to be monitored closely.