WASHINGTON – More than 4,000 Middle Tennessee seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D “donut hole” coverage gap will be receiving $250 rebates this month, Congressman Bart Gordon announced.
“The Medicare Part D donut hole has forced too many seniors to decide between purchasing their prescribed medications or paying for groceries and other bills,” Gordon said. “These rebates will provide immediate assistance and allow them to purchase needed prescriptions.”
Under current Medicare policy, seniors’ prescription drugs are covered until their costs exceed $2,830 for the year. After that amount is reached, seniors completely lose coverage for a portion of the year, and must pay out of pocket for their medications, some of which are too costly at full price for those on a fixed budget. Coverage does not resume until their costs reach $6,440 and can be covered by catastrophic care.
The rebate checks will offer relief to the 85,000 seniors in Tennessee who will be affected by the donut hole this year. The checks are the first step in the phase-out of the donut hole initiated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. Beginning in January 2011, seniors who fall into the donut hole will receive a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs. The donut hole will be closed entirely in the next 10 years, saving Tennessee seniors a total of $1.7 billion.
“I have fought for this fix since Medicare Part D was put into place in 2003. There is no other insurance plan in America that has this kind of gap,” Gordon said. “With the passage of the Affordable Care Act last spring, seniors in my district will be more secure knowing their prescription coverage will be there when they need it.”
Gordon encourages Middle Tennessee seniors to learn more about the benefits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by visiting www.house.gov/bart for more information.