About 80,000 rebate checks of $250 each will go out on June 10 to Medicare beneficiaries who fall into the so-called “doughnut hole” of prescription drug coverage, HHS announced.
HHS sending rebate checks for 'doughnut hole' seniors
The rebate is part of the new federal health reform law, and is the first step to filling that coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug program, called Medicare Part D.
The checks will go out every 30 days until the end of the year.
Since the prescription drug program launched in 2006, most seniors enrolled in the program have had to pay all their drug costs once they reach a certain threshold, and before catastrophic coverage kicks in. The coverage gap for beneficiaries was up to $3,610 this year.
About 8 million Medicare beneficiaries fall into the coverage gap each year, according to HHS. Starting next year, beneficiaries who reach this gap will get a 50% discount on brand-name medications.
Beneficiaries don't have to apply for the rebate checks or do anything to receive them, because qualifying is based on Medicare billing data, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at a news conference.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.