Carper, Kaufman Announce First Wave of Prescription Drug “Donut Hole” Rebate Checks to Delaware Seniors

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman (both D-Del.) on Thursday announced that the first round of checks have been mailed to help Delaware seniors with the cost of their prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, known as the "donut hole." 


TODAY, Thursday, June 10, the tax-free, $250 rebate checks will be mailed to seniors who have already hit the Medicare "donut hole" and do not receive Medicare Extra Help.  Just one of the benefits of the healthcare reform bill, checks will be mailed each month in 2010 to seniors as they encounter the gap in their prescription drug coverage. Last year, approximately 11,900 Medicare beneficiaries in Delaware hit the "donut hole" and did not qualify for Medicare Extra Help to defray the cost of their prescription drugs. 


"For Delaware seniors, one of the most valuable benefits of the health care bill is closing the prescription drug ‘donut hole,’" said Sens. Carper and Kaufman, who joined Senate Democrats in supporting The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which the President signed into law earlier this year. "It is important for Delaware seniors to know that rebate checks will be automatically mailed to them this year when they reach the ‘donut hole,’ if they don’t already receive Medicare Extra Help."


Starting in 2011, Delaware Medicare beneficiaries who do not receive Medicare Extra Help will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs and biologics they purchase when they are in the coverage gap.  The coverage in the gap will increase on top of the discount until 2020, when the "donut hole" will be completely closed. 


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also provides free annual wellness visits for Delaware seniors and eliminates deductibles, copayments, and other cost-sharing for preventive care.  The law includes incentives for care coordination to improve health care quality and to better spend the more than 90 percent of Medicare dollars spent on treating chronic conditions.


In addition, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act works to protect Delaware seniors from fraud and identity theft scams. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice will convene a series of regional fraud prevention summits and invite top federal and Delaware officials to help ensure fraud is being reduced across the country.