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AARP Arizona, June 18, 2010
Beginning June 10, people in Medicare Part D who reach the coverage gap or “doughnut hole” will automatically receive a $250 rebate this year to help them with their drug costs and other expenses.
The rebate check is part of the new health care law and is the first step in the gradual closing of the Part D “doughnut hole”, which will help make prescription drugs more affordable for people in Medicare Part D. Closing the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” has been a top priority for AARP members and all older Americans.
Each year more than 3 million people fall into the “doughnut hole”. Research also shows that people who have trouble paying for their prescriptions are more likely to skip or stop taking their medications altogether. This can lead to more serious health problems and higher long-term costs both for them and for our health care system as a whole.
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.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to begin mailing the first group of rebate checks beginning June 10, 2010. Checks will continue to be mailed as more people reach the doughnut hole in 2010.
Below are five facts people in Medicare Part D should know about the rebate check and their prescription drugs:
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, you can see 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.
For more information on how the new health care law will affect you and your family go to aarp.org/getthefacts.
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