MB diabetic struggles in Medicare's donut hole

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach resident, Joe Carta has lived with diabetes for more than 15 years but things really got bad this past May when he lost his leg to the disease.

"I lost this leg because I didn't have any blood circulation and that's bad," says Carta.

To make matters worse he's on a ton of medications following five heart attacks and he fears he could lose his other leg.

He says it costs him $35 for six vials of his insulin on Medicare but three months ago he reached the $2,700 limit the government supplements and he's now in the donut hole. Now it would cost $100 for just one vial of medication.

Carta got some relief after finally finding a doctor who gave him a free sample but it's not going to last long. His sugar levels have been out of control for months, desperate he turned to the internet, offering to trade drugs online with someone. Not knowing that's a federal offense.

"I really don't even know we were just so desperate with the sugar being as low as it was, my wife just put it on the internet," says Carta.

Local law enforcement officials say they haven't really dealt with this sort of crime and the FDA says while it's a federal offense, prosecution of such a crime is at the discretion of the county solicitor. No one replied to Carta's ad but the situation shines light on the 3.5 million Americans who are in the donut hole according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The affordable care act could change things for Carta and others. The act says it will eliminate the donut hole by the year 2020.

For now, Carta just has to hand on until Jan. 1, when the new year begins and his Medicare cap for the year will start all over.

"I'm strong willed I'll survive," says Carta.

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