Last year, roughly 40,700 Medicare beneficiaries in Mississippi hit the “donut hole,” or gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage, and received no extra help to defray the cost of their prescription drugs, according to the Office of the Actuary.

Beginning last week, these Medicare beneficiaries who hit the gap this year will automatically be mailed a one-time $250 rebate check. These checks will be mailed monthly throughout the year as new beneficiaries hit the donut hole.

While I did not vote for health care reform legislation, I have been a long-time advocate of efforts to close the prescription drug donut hole.

Prescription drug costs are a big burden for seniors. Prescriptions end up costing many people thousands of dollars a year and this check is a down payment on reducing prescription drug costs for seniors and eventually closing the donut hole altogether.

Mississippi Medicare recipients don’t have to do anything to get the check – once their drug costs for the year hit $2,830 the checks will be issued automatically. Checks will continue to be mailed monthly as new beneficiaries hit the donut hole.

But seniors need to be on the lookout for fraud. Unfortunately, scam artists around the country have been preying on seniors expecting this check. They call seniors and tell them they need to give out personal information like Social Security numbers and bank accounts to get the checks. That’s completely untrue and if you get a call like that you should hang up and call the Attorney General’s office.

As always, please continue to keep me informed about your opinions and concerns by phone at (202) 225-4306 or by visiting my website at www.childers.house.gov.

Travis Childers
6/16/10