Since the 2010 Health Care Reform legislation offered over 1,000 pages of changes to health care and coverage, we continue to highlight the portions of this legislation that affect senior citizens. In particular, Health Care Reform provided a fix to eliminate a ‘donut’ hole in the coverage of Medicare Part D, which is Medicare’s prescription drug coverage that was passed in 2006.
Under the current Medicare guidelines, over $1,500 in prescription drug costs are not covered by Medicare. Many were taken by surprise by this coverage gap. The prescription plan offered coverage until $2,830 in total drug costs were reached in a year. At that point, the full cost of prescription drugs were paid by the Medicare recipient until the out-of-pocket costs reached $4,550, when the drug plan begins to pay most of the costs of covered drugs for the remainder of the year.
For 2010, the Health Care legislation is giving a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who fall into this coverage gap. In 2011, there will be a 50% discount on prescription drugs within the ‘donut’ hole. The legislation eliminates the gap by the year 2020 when coverage within this gap will be a more palatable copay of 25% of the drug costs.
So, how do you get your rebate check? If you’re eligible, Medicare will mail it automatically to you – there are no forms required. In fact, if anyone calls or requests personal information saying it is needed for your rebate, it is a scam.
Rebate checks began to be distributed in July, 2010 and will continue monthly throughout the year as beneficiaries enter the coverage gap. If you have questions regarding your eligibility for this one-time rebate, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.