Beginning this week, thousands of Iowa seniors will start getting $250 checks to help them with prescription drug prices, as part of health care reform. This is the first batch of checks that will be going out over the next few months.
"I grew up in poverty and know how hard it is to live on a fixed income," said Loebsack. "Prescription drug prices place a big burden on our seniors, and end up costing many Iowans thousands of dollars a year. The new health care law will reduce prescription drug costs for seniors, starting with this check and eventually closing the donut hole altogether."
Medicare recipients do not need to take action to receive the checks. When their drug costs for the year hit $2,830, seniors' checks will be issued automatically.
Loebsack cautions seniors to be on the lookout for fraud.
"Unfortunately, scam artists around the country have been preying on seniors," said Loebsack. "They call seniors and tell them that personal information is necessary to receive the checks - information such as Social Security numbers and bank accounts. That is completely untrue and I urge seniors not to give out personal information, end the conversation with the scam artist, and contact the authorities."
The $250 checks are just the first step in reducing prescription drug prices under health care reform. Next year seniors in the donut hole will get a 50 percent discount on name-brand prescription drugs and a 75 percent discount on generics. The average Iowa senior will save $700 next year on prescription drugs because of health care reform.
Seniors can call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY 1 877 486-2048) to report scams. There is also more information at stopmedicarefraud.gov and a pamphlet on the rebate checks with frequently asked questions on Medicare.gov. Additionally, seniors can contact the Iowa Attorney General at 515-281-5164.