By Ashley Conroy
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Seniors on Medicare will have the chance to receive a tax free check to help pay for expensive prescriptions.
It's part of what's called the "donut hole" which falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human services' Affordable Care Act.
This happens to Medicare beneficiaries who have exceeded their cost allowance.
Lillie Henderson with the Area Agency on Aging Group says when cost becomes a burden in the case of the coverage gap, often seniors will break-up their drug regimen to save money.
"You find many of them do without," said Henderson. "You find some dividing the pills taking one in the morning, where they should be taking it more often."
To help recipients avoid this gap, a $250 rebate check will be mailed by the end of the year to those beneficiaries who fall under the donut hole. Around 5,500 Mississippi seniors are expected to receive one of these checks.
"They are sending the $250 check to those persons who fall into the gap to assist them in getting their medications," Henderson said.
However, after December 31 this initiative will end. Starting in January 2011, Medicare recipients will have the chance to receive a 50 percent discount on brand name medications. They will also be eligible for preventative screenings, like a mammogram and an annual physical exam.
"They're gradually closing the gap, and by 2020, there should not be a gap," Henderson said. "Everybody should be getting the same things."
As part of a group that helps assist seniors with financial needs or other resources, Henderson says the best guard against falling into the Medicare gap is for seniors to be healthy and active.
"But this year, there's a lot of help placed on preventative care rather than waiting until the person becomes ill."
Nationwide, about 750,000 seniors have received their rebate check this year.
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