2010-06-18 / Community

AARP Offers Tips For Part D Checks

With the first checks to be mailed on June 10, people in Medicare Part D who reach the prescription drug coverage gap (or “doughnut hole”) this year will automatically receive a rebate of $250 to help with their drug costs and other expenses. As part of the new health care law, the rebate check is the first step in the gradual closing of the doughnut hole, which will help make prescription drugs more affordable for people in Medicare Part D. Closing this gap has been a top priority for AARP members and all older Americans.

More than 3 million people fall into the doughnut hole each year, and millions more live in fear of reaching this expensive gap in coverage. Research shows that people who have trouble paying for their prescription drugs are more likely to skip doses or stop taking their medications altogether, which can lead to more serious health problems and higher long-term costs both for them and for our health care system as a whole.

Starting in 2011, people who reach the doughnut hole will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs. By 2020, the doughnut hole will be eliminated entirely.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to begin mailing the first group of rebate checks beginning June 10, 2010. Checks will continue to be mailed as more people reach the doughnut hole in 2010.

Below are five facts people in Medicare Part D should know about the rebate check and their prescription drugs: * Receipts can help you track your spending. People in Medicare Part D who have paid more than $940 in outof pocket drug costs should automatically receive a check after reaching that threshold but you should save your receipts just in case. If you think you’ve reached the doughnut hole and don’t receive your check within a few months, having your receipts handy will be helpful when talking to Medicare. * Checks will be mailed automatically. Medicare tracks your drug costs for you. Once you reach the coverage gap, you will receive a check. mately 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. National Grid also owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers.

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