Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Health Care Law Pumps $1 Billion into Local Economies

By Jane Norman, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

March 22, 2011 -- While it's not been the most remarked-upon feature of the health care law, the federal government injected nearly $1 billion into local economies in 2011 via rebates for Medicare prescription drug benefits. Californians received $87 million and Floridians received $64 million in the payments authorized by the health care law.

Studies released by the Department of Health and Human Services also show that the $250 checks were cashed quickly after they were received. On average, checks were cashed within 15 days of when they were issued, HHS said. Nearly half of Americans who received a check cashed it within 10 days.

Under the overhaul law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), seniors and persons with disabilities covered under Medicare Part D prescription drug plans were eligible for the checks if they had drug expenses that put them in the donut hole for 2010 - meaning that their drug expenses exceeded their coverage limits but didn't hit the catastrophic level. The $250 checks were automatically mailed to beneficiaries, and were tax-free. Nearly four million people received checks.

The most people receiving checks were in California, followed by Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says that 58 percent were women and 42 percent men. Some people may yet receive checks because claims from late last year are still being processed.

In 2011, there won't be any rebate checks but there is a new 50-percent discount on covered brand name drugs that people buy while in the donut hole. CMS says 48,000 people already have saved $38 million through this year's initiative.

Publication Details