Seniors Begin to See Benefits of Health Reform as First Step to Closing Medicare “Donut Hole” Takes Effect

Washington, D.C. – Seniors across the country who struggle with the high cost of prescription drugs will begin to see relief this week as a result of the landmark health reform law.  Rebate checks worth $250 will be mailed to seniors who are forced to pay full price for their prescription drugs because they fall into the Medicare Part D coverage gap.  The rebate checks are part of a larger effort through the 2010 health care reform law to gradually close the Medicare “donut hole.”  Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement:

“Today marks the beginning of the end of the Medicare donut hole.  This flaw in our health care system has left too many seniors unable to afford the critical medicines they need, even as they pay premiums every month.  Through the 2010 health care reform law, we are now on a path to finally close the Medicare donut hole once and for all.

“Beginning today, $250 drug rebate checks will be mailed to thousands of seniors who fall into the donut hole.  These savings will provide real relief to seniors who struggle every month to afford the high cost of prescription drugs.  Next year we’ll cut the cost of brand name drugs in the donut hole in half and then gradually close the donut hole altogether.”