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Coakley warns of Medicare scam

Coakley warns of Medicare scam coakley.jpg
GREATER SPRINGFIELD Attorney General Martha Coakley cautioned Medicare beneficiaries to be aware of potential scams that could arise in connection with the $250 rebate check being issued by Medicare last week. Qualifying consumers who have Medicare prescription drug coverage ("Medicare Part D") and are not receiving Medicare Extra Help will automatically receive a tax free, one-time $250 rebate check from Medicare once they reach the coverage gap in 2010. Checks began being mailed on June 10 to qualifying Medicare beneficiaries who have already reached the coverage gap. Checks will be mailed to beneficiaries as they enter the coverage gap. This $250 rebate is a tax free, one-time benefit in 2010. "These rebate checks provide an important benefit to many Medicare recipients in the Commonwealth, but beneficiaries should be cautious of possible scams that may arise," Coakley said. "Although these checks will be sent automatically, criminals may attempt to manipulate this process to their advantage in order to gain elders' personal information. We urge seniors not to give out their personal information to anyone who contacts them about the rebate check." Medicare will automatically issue the rebate check to beneficiaries who qualify there is no form to fill out and you do not need to provide any personal information such as your Medicare, Social Security or bank account numbers to receive the rebate check. Do not give your personal information to anyone who contacts you about the $250 rebate check. If you are contacted by anyone about the $250 rebate check, you should call 1-800-MEDICARE (800) 633-4227) to report it. If you do not receive your rebate check, or have other questions about the rebate program, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE. You will not receive a rebate if you are receiving Medicare Extra Help. Consumers who have questions about how to protect themselves from identity theft and consumer scams should contact Massachusetts Attorney General's Office consumer hotline at (617) 727-8400. These rebate checks are being sent as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care reform law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama. This law contains important benefits for Medicare recipients including gradually closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, sometimes called the Medicare "donut hole." Help spread the word about this important new benefit by sharing this information with friends, neighbors and family members. To learn more about how Medicare is working to stop scams against beneficiaries, go to stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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