Seniors on Medicare will have the chance to receive a tax free check to help pay for expensive prescriptions. It's part of what's called the "donut hole" which falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Affordable Care Act.
The "donut hole" might sound familiar to seniors on Medicare who rely on prescription medications. This happens to Medicare recipients who have exceeded their cost allowance.
Lillie Henderson with the area agency on aging group says when cost becomes a burden in the case of the donut hole, often seniors will break-up their drug regimen to save money, " You find many of them do without, you find some dividing the pills taking one in the morning, where they should be taking it more often."
To help recipients avoid this gap... A 250-dollar rebate check will be mailed by the end of the year as part of the national Affordable Care Act. This means about 55-hundred Mississippi seniors will be taken out of the donut hole.
"They are sending the $250 check to those persons who fall into the gap to assist them in getting their medications," says Henderson. However after December 31st, this initiative will end and next year, as part of the act Medicare recipients will have the chance to receive a 50-percent discount on brand name medications and preventative screenings, like mammograms and annual checkups.
Henderson says, "They're gradually closing the gap, and by 2020, there should not be a gap. Everybody should be getting the same things." But she also says the ultimate guard against falling into the medicare gap, is for seniors to focus on staying healthy and active, "But this year, there's a lot of help placed on preventative care rather than waiting until the person becomes ill."
Nation-wide, more than 750-thousand seniors on medicare have already received their checks this year.