As part of the Affordable Care Act, many Medicare recipients across the country will begin receiving assistance to help pay for their prescription drug costs. Beginning June 10, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will begin distributing a one-time tax -free $250 rebate check to those seniors who reach the coverage gap.
"During these tough economic times I've heard from seniors throughout the 13th district about the struggles they have faced. One prominent concern worrying seniors is the rising cost of medication. " Congressman Scott said. "This important benefit is a first step toward closing the Medicare "donut hole" and making coverage more affordable for Seniors. Please be assured, I have and will continue to be a vocal advocate for the Medicare and Medicaid programs and will continue to lend my full support to ensuring these important programs are preserved."
If you hit the donut hole after the program has begun, you should expect to receive your check within 45 days. Checks will be mailed monthly throughout the year as beneficiaries enter the coverage gap. You will only receive one check after you reach the coverage gap.
Your rebate may be delayed if Medicare does not have information from your Medicare drug plan showing that you reached the coverage gap in time to include you in the next mailing. In order to avoid delays, contact your Medicare drug plan to make sure all of your information has been sent to Medicare. If you don't get your rebate check, contact Medicare at 1 800 MEDICARE. You can also check to make sure Social Security has your correct home address. Call 1-800-772-1213 or your local Social Security office. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
Medicare will automatically send a check made out to you. You do not need to provide any personal information like your Medicare, Social Security, or bank account numbers to get the rebate check. Don't give your personal information to anyone who calls you about the $250 rebate check. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to report anyone who does this. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
There is also assistance available for seniors who will not reach the Donut Hole coverage gap. Created under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the "Extra Help" program is designed to assist seniors with their prescription drug costs. Under the program seniors who qualify will be eligible to pay no more than $2.50 for generic drugs and $6.30 for each brand name drug. To qualify, Medicare beneficiaries' incomes must be less than $16,245 a year (or $21,855 for married couples) and have resources limited to $12,510 (or $25,010 for married couples). Resources include bank accounts, stocks, and bonds, but do not include houses, cars, or life insurance policies. There is no cost to apply for "Extra Help." Medicare beneficiaries, family members, trusted counselors or caregivers can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs.
To learn more about the $250 rebate check, visit www.Medicare.gov.