FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2010
Contact: AARP Media Relations, email@example.com, 202-434-2560
As Medicare Doughnut Hole Rebates Total $250 Million, AARP Offers Tips to Get Checks and Avoid Scams
WASHINGTON—As Americans in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap receive the latest round of rebate checks from the program, AARP is offering its members and everyone in Medicare important tips to get their checks on time and avoid fraud.
People in Medicare Part D who reach the dreaded coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” are forced to pay the full price of their prescriptions, in addition to their monthly premiums. This year, those who fall into the coverage gap will receive a $250 check to help with their expenses. Medicare announced this week that it has mailed its one millionth check. Starting in 2011, people who reach the doughnut hole will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs. By 2020, the doughnut hole will be eliminated entirely.
“With four million Americans expected to reach the doughnut hole and receive rebate checks this year, it’s important that seniors and their families know what to expect and how to avoid costly scams,” said AARP Senior Vice President Cheryl Matheis.
AARP is offering people in Medicare and their families five important facts to keep in mind as the doughnut hole rebate checks continue to hit mailboxes across the country:
* Receipts can help you track your spending. People in Medicare Part D who reach the gap should automatically receive a check, but you should save your receipts just in case. If you think you’ve reached the doughnut hole and don’t receive your check within a few months, having your receipts handy will be helpful when talking to Medicare.
* Checks will be mailed automatically. Your prescription drug plan tracks your drug costs for you. Once you reach the coverage gap, you will receive a check.
* Protect yourself against scams. If someone says they can help you get your check more quickly if you pay them a fee, immediately report this scam or any similar fraud to the police or to your state’s Attorney General. You can find the Attorney General’s phone number in the blue pages of the telephone book or online at www.naag.org. You should also report any suspected scam to Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
* Your check will be mailed to the address Social Security uses to reach you. If you need to change your address, please call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If you prefer, a change of address may also be reported by calling or visiting your local Social Security office.
* You may be able to save on your prescription drugs. By entering the name of each of your drugs, its dosage, and how often you take it into AARP’s Doughnut Hole Calculator (www.aarp.org/doughnuthole), you can see if and when you are likely to enter the doughnut hole. This tool will also identify less costly drugs available in your Part D plan and will print out a personalized letter that will help you begin a conversation with your physician about switching to lower-cost alternatives.
Check www.aarp.org/getthefacts for more information on how the new health care law will affect you and your family.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA su Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.