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Attorney General, AARP urge seniors to beware of con artists

Doughnut Hole Checks Will be Mailed Automatically

Nashville, TN – Tennessee’s Attorney General and AARP warn seniors to beware of con artists trying to take advantage of $250.00 rebate checks going out this year to Medicare recipients who have fallen into the “doughnut hole” gap in Part D prescription coverage.

“If someone promises to help you get one of these rebate checks for a fee, or tells you that you need to fill out a form or give them your Social Security or Medicare number, it’s a scam,” said Attorney General Bob Cooper. “Don’t fall for it.”

The truth is that the $250.00 checks will be mailed automatically to Medicare Part D beneficiaries after they hit the “doughnut hole.” The first batch of checks will be mailed Thursday and more will go out monthly through the remainder of 2010.

Seniors fall into the “doughnut hole” once they’ve spent $940.00 in out-of-pocket drug costs. They are responsible for $3,610 in total costs before Medicare coverage kicks in again.

Cooper and AARP Tennessee State Director Rebecca Kelly urge Tennessee seniors to immediately report scammers to local law enforcement and to the state Division of Consumer Affairs (1-800-342-8385 or www.tn.gov/consumer). Scams should also be reported to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

“Don’t let these crooks get away with it,” Kelly said. “If they tried to scam you, they’ll try to scam your friends and neighbors. People who prey on seniors as they struggle to pay for their medicine must be stopped.”

The rebate checks for about 85,000 Tennesseans (some 4 million Americans) are a down payment on closing the “doughnut hole.” Starting in 2011, people with Part D coverage will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs and a 7 percent discount on generic drugs while they’re in the “doughnut hole.” These discounts will gradually increase until the gap is completely eliminated in 2020.

In the meantime, AARP’s Doughnut Hole Calculator (www.aarp.org/doughnuthole) can help you figure out when you are likely to hit it and help you find less costly drugs.

About the AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world’s largest-circulation magazine with over 35.7 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP’s millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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