Today, Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto) announced the third round of rebate checks have gone out to more than 375,000 eligible seniors who have entered the Medicare Part D "donut hole" this year. These tax-free, one time rebate check for $250 are authorized by the Affordable Care Act, and will continue to be mailed monthly over the next several months as seniors enter the prescription drug coverage gap.
These checks are being mailed out every few weeks, as more seniors hit the "donut hole.' In June, more than 80,000 seniors received the rebate check; in July, more than 300,000 received the check; and now in early August, more than 375,000 are receiving it. The next round of checks will be in late August.
"Seniors who find themselves in the Medicare donut hole too often are forced to choose between paying for the medications they need and meeting their basic living expenses," said Rep. Baca. "Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and Congress, over 763,000 seniors and disabled Americans, including almost 77,000 in the state of California, will have receive donut hole rebate checks this summer alone. The Affordable Care Act passed into law earlier this year will finally end the prescription drug donut hole, so senior citizens will be able to afford the medications necessary for their care."
The new health care reform law begins to close the Medicare donut hole once and for all with the distribution of rebate checks this year. Significant savings will continue next year, when the law provides a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs for seniors in the gap, and a smaller discount on generic drugs. Under the new law, the donut hole will be completely closed by 2020.
Making prescription drugs more affordable for seniors is only one of the many benefits for seniors included in the recently enacted health reform law. Other benefits include:
* Free preventive care services for all Medicare recipients beginning in 2011;
* Extending Medicare solvency by an additional 12 years -- to 2029;
* Improving seniors' access to doctors; and
* Lowering Medicare costs by reducing waste, fraud and abuse.
"With the implementation of the provisions of health care reform, we are making quality, affordable care a right for every American," concluded Rep. Baca. "Republicans who continue to call for a repeal of health reform oppose this life-saving assistance and want to return us to a system of higher drug costs, shrinking benefits, and greater insecurity for America's senior citizens. I will continue to fight in Congress to protect the interests of all Americans, especially seniors and our most vulnerable populations."
For more information about the "donut hole" rebate checks, contact www.HealthCare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE.