AARP Warns of 'doughnut Hole' Check Scams

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — U.S. seniors in Medicare Part D get their $250 “doughnut hole” checks in the mail, and people who say they can help get the checks are scammers, AARP warns.

Cheryl Matheis, AARP senior vice president, says those in Medicare Part D who reach the coverage gap, or doughnut hole — out-of-pocket expenses costs from $750 to $3,600 — have to pay the full price of their prescriptions, in addition to their monthly premiums.

However, this year because of Affordable Care Act, or healthcare reform, those who fall into the coverage gap will receive a $250 check. In 2011, seniors who reach the doughnut hole will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs, and in 2020, the doughnut hole will be eliminated entirely, Matheis says.

A senior’s prescription drug plan tracks drug costs, and once the senior reaches the coverage limit, checks are mailed automatically, Matheis says.

“If someone says they can help you get your check more quickly if you pay them a fee, immediately report this scam or any similar fraud to the police or to your state’s attorney general,” Matheis says in a statement. “The attorney general’s phone number is in the blue pages of the telephone book or online at You should also report any suspected scam to Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE, or 1-800-633-4227.”

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