CMS mistakenly sends checks to Medicare beneficiaries

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services erroneously sent checks to 230,000 Medicare beneficiaries to reimburse them for almost $50 million in prescription drug benefit premiums, according to a news report.

CMS sent checks averaging about $215 each as well as a letter informing beneficiaries that Medicare will no longer deduct their monthly prescription drug benefit premiums from their Social Security checks, the Associated Press reported. CMS has since told beneficiaries this notice is wrong. Currently, nearly 5 million Medicare beneficiaries have opted to pay their monthly premiums through deductions from their Social Security checks.

Beneficiaries will not experience any disruption in their coverage, CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said. But the monthly deductions from Social Security checks for the premiums will not resume until October. Recipients of the cash are supposed to return the checks to the federal government.