As if Medicare isn't Confusing Enough: 230,000 Seniors Sent Checks They Can't Cash

| Wed Aug. 23, 2006 12:40 PM EDT

Last week the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services mailed 230,000 Medicare recipients checks reimbursing them for monthly premiums on their prescription drug coverage.

By mistake.

Adding to the confusion the checks, totaling $50 million, came along with a letter telling seniors that the Social Security Administration would no longer deduct premiums from their Social Security check. Apparently the agency sent the wrong information to the Social Security Administration about various changes in coverage for beneficiaries, leading to the snafu. This week, CMS officials sent a second letter out telling folks not to cash the checks, which averaged $215, though they fail to mention any of this on their website.

Not only will they have to return the cash, as of January 1.5 million seniors (those with higher incomes) will have higher premiums to deal with.

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