Eligible seniors who are have Medicare Part D plans for their prescription drug costs will be getting some help with the costs of their prescription medications in 2010. As it has become harder for seniors to afford the medications they need, there are finally some initiatives coming to help with cost. The first initiative up is the $250 Donut Hole Rebate Check. But why is it called the ‘donut hole’ check and how will hit help with the costs of prescription drugs?
Medicare Part D Donut Hole – Covering the Gap
What is called the ‘donut hole’ actually refers to the gap in coverage between what Medicare pays and what must be paid out of pocket by Medicare recipients. It is the difference between the cash limits required by the individual plan type where Medicare my pay prescription costs until they rise to a pre-set limit. Once that limit is reached, recipients must take over all payments until the gap once again closes when an upper pre-set limit is reached.
The Donut Hole Check for Medicare Part D is part of the Affordable Care Act initiative which is also working to close the cap in the next 10 years. As a first move towards the goal, Medicare is providing a $250 tax-free rebate check to cover the costs of prescription drugs incurred by the gap.
How the Rebate Works
Qualified senior citizens will automatically receive a check in the mail at the time they reach the coverage gap limit. No one will need to apply for the rebate check. Payments already began in mid-June 2010 and they will continue to be sent out monthly moving forward.
Checks are to be sent out with 45 days of the seniors reaching their coverage gap point. Should an eligible senior not receive a check in the time period should confirm with their drug plan that their status information was sent to Medicare. Checks will only be cut when gap coverage information has been reached and confirmed.
Eligibility for Rebate
To determine eligibility, consult directly with your plan representative as not all seniors are covered under the rebate. For instance, seniors that receive Medicare Extra Help or have private plan benefits are not eligible to receive the $250 check.
Scams relating to the donut hole coverage rebate are on the rise. Seniors are being contacted by con artists under the guise that access to their check can be faster if they provide their banking or credit card information, Medicare identification, and Social Security numbers. The scams will generally result in identity theft as no other party can expedite the access to the rebate check since the process is automated.
What the Future Holds
As the rebate check is a step forward in closing the coverage gap for senior paying for prescriptions, there are other measures in the works. In 2010, qualifying seniors will be receiving a 50% discount on brand name prescription products. Generic drugs will allow for a 7% discount. The gap coverage measures will continue on with the goal to completely close the coverage gap by 2020.