The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on May 27 issued guidance on the $250 benefit in the health care reform law for Medicare beneficiaries who enter the "donut hole," or gap in coverage, for the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. What follows is the guidance:

"Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted at (under "What's New") "Closing the Prescription Drug Coverage Gap" brochure that describes details about the tax-free, one-time check for $250 for people who enter the Part D donut hole and are not eligible for Medicare Extra Help.  The first checks are being mailed June 10 and checks will be mailed monthly after people have entered the coverage gap.

"To help fight fraud and protect beneficiaries from potential scams, Medicare is reminding seniors there are no forms to fill out to receive this benefit. Medicare will automatically send a check.  The envelope will have the US Department of Health and Human Services symbol on it and will say "Medicare Part D." Beneficiaries don't need to provide any personal information.  They don't need to provide any personal information like Medicare, Social Security, or bank account numbers to get the rebate check.  They are reminded not to give any personal information to anyone who calls about the $250 rebate check.

"People with Medicare should call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to report any suspected fraud or scams or with any questions."


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