Health Care Reform for Seniors: More Help From Medicare

Jun 9th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama this year contains some important benefits for Medicare recipients. If you have Medicare prescription drug coverage, and aren’t already getting Medicare Extra Help (extra help for seniors living at or below poverty level), Medicare will automatically send you a tax free, one-time $250 rebate check after you reach the coverage gap (also called the “donut hole”) in 2010. This rebate is part of healthcare reform and the first step toward closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap.

Most Medicare drug plans (Medicare Part D) have a coverage gap. This means that after you and your plan have spent a certain amount of money for covered drugs, you have to pay all costs out-of-pocket for your drugs (up to a limit). The Explanation of Benefits notice, which your drug plan mails to you each month when you fill a prescription, will tell you how much you’ve spent on covered drugs and whether you’ve entered the coverage gap.

There aren’t any form to fill out.  You will get the check once you enter the coverage gap.  Checks begin to go out Mid-June, and will continue to be sent to those Medicare recipients as they reach the doughnut hole.  Each recipient who meets this requirement will be sent a one-time check for $250 in 2010.  Then in 2011, seniors who reach the doughnut hole will receive a 50% discount on medications purchased in the coverage gap.  That per cent increases gradually until 2020 when the coverage gap is eliminated.

Elderly persons are cautioned about scammers trying to bilk them out of the $250, and identity theft issues.  NO FORMS have to be filled out.  NOTHING has to be done to receive the rebate.  Checks are sent from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services AUTOMATICALLY. 

Pass the word to your senior friends and family members.  Multiple reports of scams are already surfacing and officials at the Department of Health and Human Services are seeking our help to be sure all elders have the accurate information they need.

The brochure about this rebate program is available here:  http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11464.pdf

More information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is available here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/affordable-care-act-strengthening-medicare-combating-misinformation-and-protecting

Pass the word!  We seniors need to stick together on this one!



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