U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today applauded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' announcement that 46,309 Medicare beneficiaries received $250 checks from the federal government to help them through the prescription drug benefit coverage gap commonly referred to as the "donut hole."
The New Jersey recipients were among the one million Medicare beneficiaries who received a $250 check. Since June 15, the checks have been sent automatically to beneficiaries whose prescription drug costs have exceeded $2,830.
"More than 46,000 people in New Jersey have seen a direct benefit from the health care reform legislation, and this is only the first step," said Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee who wrote key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "Each year, seniors will the coverage gap in their prescription drug benefits decrease until it is completely gone in 2020. This is just one of the ways seniors are benefitting from the health care reform legislation."
Under the new law, benefits for seniors include:
* Beginning in January 2011, seniors in the donut hole will receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs.
* Beginning on January 1, 2011, provides that seniors will receive free preventive care services like mammograms and certain colon cancer tests and a free annual physical.
* Strengthens Medicare by extending its solvency by an additional 12 years, from 2017 to 2029.
* Includes Medicare efficiencies, so that experts estimate that seniors can expect to save on average almost $200 per year in premiums, by 2018, compared to what they would have paid without the new law.
* Continues to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare.
* Improves care by helping doctors communicate and coordinate.
* Expands home and community-based services to keep seniors in their home, instead of in nursing homes.