Bennet: Seniors Will Get Help to Cover the Medicare Donut Hole

First $250 Rebate Checks Being Sent to Help Cover Medication Costs for Seniors Caught in Donut Hole

Washington, DC – With thousands of seniors struggling to make ends meet in Colorado, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, wants them to know that help is on the way.  Medicare beneficiaries caught by the prescription drug loophole known as the “donut hole” will soon start receiving the first set of $250 rebate checks, which will be sent tomorrow.  These rebate checks, which are part of the health care reform law, will help seniors pay for their prescription drugs.

“The new health reform law eliminates the prescription drug donut hole gap in coverage for seniors on Medicare over time, but in the meantime, these checks will go a long way to help seniors pay for the prescriptions they need,” said Bennet.  “I’m glad that these checks are going out ahead of schedule to seniors in Colorado who can use the help with the costs of prescriptions, especially during these difficult economic times.”

Nearly 50,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Colorado hit the donut hole last year.  Medicare beneficiaries in Colorado who hit the gap this year will automatically be mailed a one-time $250 rebate check without having to request or apply for one. More than 4 million seniors nationwide are predicted to receive rebate checks this year.

The donut hole is a gap in prescription drug coverage in Medicare Part D insurance plans, in which after reaching a certain cost threshold, seniors have to pay the full costs of their drugs out of pocket until they qualify for catastrophic coverage.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will fill this coverage gap by 2020, and starting in 2011, seniors in the coverage gap will receive a 50 percent discount on their drugs, so they are not burdened with the entire cost of the drugs they need.  

Checks will be mailed out monthly throughout the year as seniors reach the gap.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has warned seniors to be wary of scams and not provide personal information, such as Medicare, Social Security or bank account numbers, to anyone claiming the information is necessary to receive the rebate check.  

Seniors should report anything suspicious by calling CMS at 1-800-MEDICARE and can find more information from CMS in the Medicare brochure available here: