June 16, 2010                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Lindeen warns of scam targeting Medicare recipients


      Helena- Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen is warning Montanans about health care scams targeting Medicare recipients. “Many states are shutting down scams by persons offering to help Medicare recipients get their $250 rebates and we want to make sure Montana seniors don’t become victim,” says Lindeen.
      
      People who are covered by Medicare will be receiving a $250 rebate check when their prescription drug costs reach the coverage gap, often called the “donut hole.” “The rebate is automatic once prescription costs reach the $2,830 threshold,” said Lindeen, “recipients do not have to do anything.”
      
      Lindeen urges anyone to call her office at 1-800-332-6148 if contacted by someone offering to help get their rebate check or asking for personal information. “My office is working to shut these illegal operations down before they harm Montana seniors,” pledged Lindeen.
      
      Commissioner Lindeen was notified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the initial round of checks went in the mail last Thursday. She was not informed how many Montanans were included this month, but expects that during 2010 between 14,000 and 24,000 Montanans will receive the $250 payment. “That’s $4-6 million in the pockets of seniors in our communities,” said Lindeen.
      
      While checks will go out every month as more people reach the coverage gap, only one payment is sent when the threshold is initially met. If a Medicare recipient believes he or she has reached the donut hole and has not received a check within 45 days, the recipient should call 1-800-MEDICARE.
      
      “This is one of many benefits Montanans will see as a result of health care reform” said Lindeen. The Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, which Lindeen oversees, is working to implement many of the programs central to health care reform.