Take your job search up a notch at our Online Career Expo on Sept. 30. Register here.
Medicare Resource Center
AARP Massachusetts, June 15, 2010
About 300,000 Massachusetts seniors may face the dreaded “doughnut hole” in 2010. Are you – or a family member – already in the hole?
Starting in June, seniors in Medicare who have reached the prescription drug coverage gap will automatically receive $250 rebate checks to help with their drug costs and other expenses, as part of the new health care reform law.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to begin mailing the first group of Medicare prescription drug rebate checks on June 10, 2010. Checks will continue to be mailed throughout the year as more people reach the doughnut hole.
Making Medicine More Affordable
“These rebate checks are the first step to gradually close the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole – and help make prescription drugs more affordable for people in Medicare,” says Deborah Banda, AARP Massachusetts state director.
Research shows that people who have trouble paying for their prescription drugs are more likely to skip doses or stop taking their medications altogether. This can lead to more serious health problems and higher long-term costs both for them and the health care system as a whole.
A First Step
AARP Massachusetts member Patricia Liberti has fallen into the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole repeatedly. Each year, once hitting the coverage gap, she has spent thousands of dollars to pay for the medicine that keeps her healthy and out of more expensive care. “The rebate check is definitely a step in the right direction,” Liberti says. “It’s $250 I didn’t have before. And, next year, I’ll have even more help, when I can get a good discount on brand name prescriptions.”
Closing the Gap
Starting in 2011, people who reach the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole will receive a 50 percent discount on all brand name and biologic drugs, and a seven percent discount on generics. Over 10 years, more discounts will be applied for both brand and generic drugs until the coverage gap completely closes in 2020.
What You Need to Know
Five facts that people in Medicare 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.
Get the Facts
To learn more – or ask questions – visit aarp.org/getthefacts, AARP’s web page devoted to providing information about the health care reform law.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Featured AARP Member Benefits
See All >
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age.
You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. You will be asked to register or log in.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at