Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today announced that starting tomorrow, Medicare administrators will begin mailing out $250 "donut hole' checks to thousands of seniors in Hawaii. Under the recently enacted health care reform law, seniors who fall in the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap (commonly known as the "donut hole') in 2010 will receive this one-time, tax-free $250 rebate check.
These checks will continue to be dispensed over the next several months as seniors enter the coverage gap.
"I met with Medicare beneficiaries in Kaneohe and in Lihue just a few days ago and reminded them to watch for their rebate checks in their mail. With all the various types of marketing mailers, I emphasized to them to be sure to look for their checks and to not throw them away," said Congresswoman Hirono. "This is just the first example of how the health care reform bill will strengthen Medicare and help Hawaii's seniors."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 16,500 seniors in Hawaii fell into the prescription drug "donut hole' in 2009.
The delivery of rebate checks is the first phase of the health reform legislation that will benefit seniors in the Medicare Prescription Drug program. Starting in January of next year, seniors in the donut hole will receive a 50% discount on brand name drugs. By 2020, the donut hole will be completely closed.
Congresswoman Hirono voted in support of the national health care reform law this past March. President Barack Obama signed it into law on March 23, 2010.