New health care bill's prescription drug coverage fix begins this week
Today, U.S. Congressman John Salazar told Colorado seniors who are trapped in the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole" to watch for checks they'll be receiving as provisions in the new health care bill go into effect this week. The checks begin the Affordable Care Act's 10-year process of fixing the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole. The donut hole exists because current Medicare enrollees receive prescription drug coverage up to $2,700 and after this initial coverage limit is reached there is a gap in coverage (often called the donut hole) in which the enrollee is responsible for the full cost of the drugs until total costs hit the catastrophic threshold of approximately $6,100.
Last year, roughly 49,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Colorado hit the donut hole and received no extra help to defray the cost of their prescription drugs. Medicare beneficiaries in Colorado who hit the gap this year will automatically be mailed a one-time $250 rebate check. These checks will begin to be mailed to beneficiaries in the next few days and will be mailed monthly throughout the year as new beneficiaries hit the donut hole. The new health care bill will continue to provide additional discounts for seniors on Medicare in the years ahead and completely closes the donut hole by 2020.
Congressman Salazar wants to make sure that seniors who are currently stuck in the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole know that the process of closing the coverage gap has begun. He offered the following comment today:
"In the next few days seniors who have fallen into the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap will be sent a $250 check to begin to close the Medicare "donut hole' they're in. This is just a start. Over time, the Affordable Care Act will close the donut hole completely. For now, I want Colorado seniors to know that with the historic passage of health care reform earlier this year help is on the way."