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From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson: July 16, 2010

Senator Johnson Warns Seniors About Medicare Rebate Scam

Senator Craig Johnson is cautioning seniors who are receiving the $250 rebate for Medicare Part D prescription drugs to be aware of a fraudulent phone scam.

“This repugnant scam preys on seniors who are struggling with the ever-increasing costs of prescription drugs,” Senator Johnson said. “If you get one of these calls, don’t give out any personal information, don’t pay them any money, and please, contact the proper authorities.”

The federal government has begun mailing the rebate checks to eligible individuals after they reach the “doughnut hole” coverage gap.  Currently, Medicare beneficiaries whose drug costs reach $2,830 must pay all additional drug costs until their total out-of-pocket expenses reach $4,550 when coverage kicks in again. Under the federal health care reforms, the $250 rebate is the first in a series of steps to eliminate this gap and save seniors money.

There have been reports of seniors being contacted and asked for personal information, or in some cases, to pay an upfront fee in order to receive their rebate checks faster.

Any seniors who suspect fraud should contact the Consumer Services Bureau of the New York State Insurance Department at 1-800-342-3736.