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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Medicare Donut Hole Rebate Checks on the Way

Sec. Kathleen Sebelius

Our guest blogger is Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As Secretary, she leads the principal agency charged with keeping Americans healthy, ensuring they get the health care they need, and providing children, families, and seniors with the essential human services they depend on.

Due to rising costs, more than a quarter of  people enrolled in the Medicare Prescription drug program hit the coverage gap  known as the “donut hole” each year, and as a result often stop taking the medicines their doctors recommend.

If you or someone you know who has fallen into the donut hole, help is on the way.

This week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that more of one-time, tax-free $250 rebate checks are being mailed to eligible beneficiaries across the country.

Over 1 million American seniors and persons with disabilities have now received these checks — helping beneficiaries get the medications they need and taking us a step towards closing the donut hole.

As a reminder, if you are an eligible beneficiary, you will receive a check automatically in the mail when you reach the doughnut hole, and you do not have to sign-up to receive this rebate.

The donut hole rebate checks are just one of the many ways the Affordable Care Act is helping seniors.

Starting next year, Medicare Part D recipients who fall into the coverage gap will see a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name medications while in the coverage gap, and each year, beneficiaries will pay progressively less in cost sharing while they are the coverage gap until it is closed in 2020.

In addition, the law helps ensure the long-term viability of Medicare by extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund to 2029, a 12-year extension as a result of reducing waste, fraud and abuse, and slowing cost growth in Medicare, which will provide you with future cost savings on your premiums and coinsurance.

The Affordable Care Act also contains important new tools to help crack down on criminals seeking to scam seniors and steal taxpayer dollars.  If you do suspect scams or are solicited for your personal information, we want to know. Please contact 1-800-MEDICARE, or go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov to learn about how the Affordable Care Act helps to protect seniors from scams and safeguard taxpayer dollars.

To learn more about how the Affordable Care Act protects existing guaranteed Medicare benefits and adds new benefits, visit our new website at www.HealthCare.gov, or watch this short video:

Medicare video

Posted by: WebMD Blogs at 7:00 am

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