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Some Relief for MI Seniors in the “Doughnut Hole”

June 29, 2010

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan residents who've fallen into the Medicare "doughnut hole" should soon find some relief in the mail. The federal government has started sending out the first round of $250 rebate checks to help eligible Medicare Part D enrollees pay for their prescription drugs. Last year, thousands of Michigan residents reached their prescription drug coverage limit and had to start paying the full cost of their medications until they reached the catastrophic coverage threshold.

Andy Farmer, who is associate director for health and supportive services with AARP Michigan, says the rebate checks have already started to hit Michigan mailboxes.

"The first people reaching their coverage gap are starting to get their checks this month. In fact probably many have already started receiving their checks as early as two weeks ago."

Starting next year, those who fall into the prescription drug doughnut hole will receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs. The discounts continue to grow until the coverage gap is eliminated in 2020.

Farmer says Part D enrollees automatically receive the checks when they reach the gap in coverage, so there's no need to apply or take action. He also cautions people to be wary of scam artists who are on the prowl, and to contact Medicare if you suspect something fishy.

"They should just go ahead and make that call and let those experts help them sort it out, and make sure the appropriate action is being taken."

Farmer says that, if you think you've reached the doughnut hole and haven't received a check within a few months, having your prescription drug receipts handy will be helpful when contacting Medicare.

More information is at www.aarp.org

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - MI