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Doughnut Hole Checks To Be Sent This Week

by Gabe BullardRelief for seniors who are in the so-called Medicare doughnut hole is on the way this week.Medicare beneficiaries are in the doughnut hole if their prescription drugs are too expensive to be paid for under the initial Medicare coverage, but are not expensive enough for catastrophic coverage.Starting this week, seniors who fall into the doughnut hole will automatically be sent a check for $250.The payments are part of the healthcare overhaul legislation. Third District Congressman John Yarmuth says he believes these early benefits may change the minds of those who opposed the overhaul when it was being debated in Congress."As more people understand the benefits—whether they're immediate or long-term—they'll appreciate the positive impact this is going to have on their medical situation," he says.The checks will be followed by a name-brand drug discount next year. Subsequent measures will be introduced over the next decade to phase out the doughnut hole by 2020.

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.