Seniors who have gone into the Part D donut hole will be getting a check from Social Security for $250, and scam artists are using this news to their advantage. Apparently, crooks have been calling seniors telling them they need to provide personal information in order to get the $250 rebate check. In fact, seniors and younger Medicare beneficiaries do not need to do anything to get their rebate check because Medicare has their prescription expense information. When a person hits the donut hole, a $250 rebate check will be generated and mailed to the address that Medicare has on record for that person.
A person enrolled in a Medicare Part D drug plan falls into the donut hole when what she has paid out-of-pocket for prescriptions and what her drug plan has paid for her prescriptions add up to $2,830. Part D drug plans are offered by insurance companies and the companies send out monthly statements to people enrolled in their plans. These statements tell people how close they are to the donut hole each month.
When a person falls into the donut hole, she will then have to pay 100% of the cost of her prescriptions. People who take two or three brand name prescriptions are likely to go into the donut hole. The more expensive the prescriptions are, the sooner the person will go into the donut hole.
The $250 rebate check is small consolation, but next year more relief is on the way. In 2011, seniors who go into the donut hole will pay only 50% of the cost of their prescriptions. The pharmaceutical companies have “generously” offered to cut the cost of drugs by 50% for people who fall into the donut hole. The Affordable Health Care Act that was passed this year requires drug companies to agree to this discount in order to participate in Part D.
Because so many scammers are targeting seniors, Medicare is spending millions of dollars in radio, television, and newspaper advertising to tell seniors not to give out personal information over the phone. If someone calls saying they are from Medicare or Social Security, the senior should not speak to them. Medicare and Social Security do not call seniors.
CLICK HERE FOR A DETAILED EXPLANATION OF PART D AND THE DONUT HOLE.