$250 Medicare ‘doughnut-hole’ checks sent to 80,000

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$250 Medicare ‘doughnut-hole’ checks sent to 80,000

The Columbus Dispatch – The Obama administration mailed $250 rebate checks yesterday to 80,000 Medicare recipients who have fallen into the infamous "doughnut hole" gap for prescription-drug coverage.

The tax-free, one-time rebate is the first tangible benefit of the new health-care law and the initial step toward phasing out the coverage gap for Medicare recipients with Part D drug coverage and who do not qualify for additional assistance.

Kathy Keller, spokeswoman for AARP Ohio, said the rebates are "hugely important" to seniors who can't afford their prescriptions and begin rationing medications when out-of-pocket costs rise.

"They start by saying, 'I'm going to cut this pill in half or take pills every other day or take this medication but not another,'" Keller said.

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