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The $250 Check's in the Mail — Beware of Scams

Older Man on PhoneThis week the federal government began mailing $250 checks to Medicare Part D enrollees who have reached the doughnut hole where Part D no longer covers prescription drugs.

These checks are sent automatically to seniors when 2010 prescription costs reach the coverage gap.

It is not necessary to apply for the check!

But scam artists are already at work, contacting  seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries asking for social security numbers, bank accounts, and pretending to help them apply for the $250 rebates.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has begun a national education campaign to help consumers protect themselves against rebate check fraud.  It includes radio, television, and print advertising along with outreach efforts.

CMS Acting Administrator Marilynn Tavenner told the press,

Since early April, we have learned of seniors across the country who are being asked for personal information to help them get a rebate check,” Beneficiaries who reach the donut hole will get a check mailed to the same address Medicare uses to send them information now without doing anything special. Seniors should be on the look-out for scams where people they don’t know ask them for their personal information in order to get their checks. This is not how the process will work. Checks will come directly to beneficiaries who qualify for this benefit under the Affordable Care Act. Seniors or family members should contact us at 1-800-MEDICARE to report any of these types of calls or go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov to learn more about efforts to fight scams like these.

Rebate checks are part of the Affordable Care Act which will continue to provide discounts for prescription drugs until the coverage gap is finally closed in 2020.

If someone acts you for personal information over the phone, especially if they ask for social security numbers or bank accounts, HANG UP.

And then let Medicare know.

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