(Louisville, KY) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) announced that – starting next week - thousands of Louisville seniors will begin to receive help with rising prescription drug costs thanks to provisions of the new health care reform law. At least 9,500 Louisvillians who are expected to fall into Medicare’s Prescription Drug “Donut Hole” coverage gap are eligible to receive a $250 rebate check to help them afford critically needed medicines as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that became law in March.
“The gap in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage has cost Louisville seniors thousands of dollars every year,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “But help is on the way. The new health care reform law will phase out this coverage gap, and provide immediate relief as $250 checks will begin arriving in the mailboxes of Louisville seniors starting next week.”
The ‘donut hole’ impacts many of the seniors enrolled in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program. Of the 27 million Part D beneficiaries, 8.6 million fall into the ‘donut hole’ coverage gap that requires enrollees to pay the full cost of drugs after reaching a $2,830 threshold.
The first $250 rebate checks will be automatically mailed on June 10 to seniors who have already reached that threshold. Checks will then be disbursed every 30 days for seniors who subsequently enter the donut hole. 9,500 Louisville seniors are expected to receive this benefit.
Part D enrollees can find out whether they have hit the coverage gap by checking their monthly “Explanation of Benefits” notice. If an enrollee reaches the coverage gap, they will automatically receive a check within 30 days, and do not need to apply or fill out any forms. The checks are tax-free.
Senior enrolled in Medicare Part D will also receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs beginning in 2011. Additional discounts on brand-name and generic drugs will close the donut hole completely by 2020. A typical enrollee is projected to save over $700 in 2011 thanks to these discounts, and more than $3,000 by 2020.
Seniors are urged to not provide their personal information to anyone about the $250 check. Potentially fraudulent activity or delays in receipt of a check can be reported by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.