Seniors who qualified for a $250 Medicare rebate will be happy to know that their checks are being mailed this week. 80,000 government-issued checks will be sent out June 10 to help out seniors who have experienced a gap in their prescription drug coverage.

“Most Medicare drug plans have a coverage gap,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services explained in a press release. “This means that after you and your plan have spent a certain amount of money for covered drugs, you have to pay all costs out-of-pocket for your drugs (up to a limit).”

The rebate check, a result of the new health care reform law, attempts to make up for this coverage “donut hole.” Seniors experience a coverage gap when they’ve exceeded the dollar limit for basic coverage and new prescriptions are not expensive enough to be covered by catastrophic insurance. Medicare patients receive a monthly Explanation of Benefits notice, which will tell them how much they have spent and whether or not they have entered the donut hole. Seniors who receive additional coverage through the Medicare Extra Help program are not eligible for the one-time, tax-free $250. Rebate checks will be sent to qualifying seniors automatically.

According to, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about 4 million seniors will receive rebate checks in 2010. 

Those who reach the donut hole prior to the initial mailing will receive their check within 45 days of qualification. Any questions and/or concerns should be directed to the 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227) hotline.

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