Medicare Rebates On the Way for Seniors Who Qualify

May 30th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

The President announced this week that the $250 rebate checks for Medicare recipients who qualify will begin to go out mid-June.  Senior Citizens will be one of the first group of recipients benefiting from the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka, National Health Care Reform). 

Qualified seniors will be those who hit the doughnut hole in Medicare’s drug benefit program (Part D, enacted in 2003).  The rebates are the first of many benefits that will phase in over the next ten years.  Seniors now enrolled in a prescription drug program pay 25% of the cost of their medications until the total reaches $2830.  At that point, elders must pay the total cost of their medications until their out of pocket costs reach $4550.  At that point, catastrophic coverage kicks in and they only pay 5% of the cost of their medications for the rest of the year.

DHHS officials said this week that the first 80,000 senior citizens who hit the doughnut hole will begin to get checks mid-June.  Following that, checks will be distributed on a monthly basis.  More than four million seniors will get rebates.  Director of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, said “Seniors do not have to do anything to get this check.  They don’t have to sign anything.  They don’t have to apply for it.”  She warns all seniors not to be taken in by scam artists who seek personal information claiming it necessary for processing rebates.

Next year, 2011, the $250 rebate will be replaced by a 50% discount on drugs in the doughnut hole; that increases gradually over the next nine years, to 75%, almost eliminating the hole.

In addition, insurance companies are being encouraged by the Obama administration to begin offering parents who purchase their own health insurance the option of including their adult children up to age 26.  Employers who provide insurance plans to employees may also make the option available if they choose.

Most important, many seniors will begin to see the real benefits of health care reform within two weeks.  Thank you, President Obama, for not giving up.



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