Over eight million seniors each year are trapped in the Part D donut hole –a cruel coverage gap where they pay premiums but get no drug coverage. It?s a provision only insurers could love and was included in the legislation which created Part D. Closing that donut hole has been on of our top legislative priorities and one of the most beneficial improvements included in healthcare reform legislation.In just days, the first step in the gradual phase out to close that gap begins. 80,000 seniors who?ve already fallen into the donut hole this year will begin receiving the first rebate checksnext week to help close their coverage gap. The $250 checks will continue to go to beneficiaries as more fall into the donut hole throughout 2010. Donut hole checks will generally be sent out every quarter. Although it is always possible for checks to be delayed, below is the planned schedule for distributing payments:

If you fall into the “donut hole” by: Your check will likely be sent by :
March 30, 2010 June 10, 2010
June 30, 2010 September 15, 2010
September 30, 2010 December 15, 2010
December 30, 2010 March 15, 2011

We?ve provided more details about the new rebate in a fact sheet on our NCPSSM website.Starting in 2011, people who reach the doughnut hole will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs. That means the typical senior will save $700 next year thanks to health reform legislation. By 2020, the doughnut hole will be eliminated.What this reform will ultimately do is put real health care dollars back into the pockets of seniors who need them and not to the insurers who?ve profited for years from this flawed provision. Check out the CMS brochure for beneficiaries here.