Relief is finding its way to seniors from the pressure of rising prescription costs. Since June, the federal government has offered money to those feeling the pinch of the Medicare Part D drug plan.
The one-time $250 checks cover the Medicare coverage gap, or “donut hole” as it has been popularly coined. Seniors using Medicare are covered for up to $2,830 in prescription costs. Above that amount, the “donut hole,” they must pay 100 percent of their costs until they reach the catastrophic limit of just over $6,000 in prescription costs.
The checks are a welcome relief for the elderly, many of whom live on fixed incomes, as a way to help pay for expensive medicine. The checks will be distributed approximately three months before a person enters the coverage gap. The rebate checks are tax-free.
“This is for many the first example of how the health care reform bill will strengthen Medicare and help seniors—including by extending Medicare’s solvency by more than a decade,” said Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) in a written statement.
In Congressman Towns’s home state of New York, nearly 85,000 seniors will benefit from the $250 rebate checks. Nationally, over one million seniors will receive funds.
This is one of the first tangible steps of the Affordable Care Act that was signed in March 2010. The law will slowly work to reform the health care industry, address the long-term viability of Medicare, and ultimately close the “donut hole.”