Medicare recipients who have hit the donut hole, or coverage gap, can expect a $250 check in the mail from the federal government.

This is the second round in a series of checks that will be mailed out to Medicare Part D recipients who have hit the coverage gap.

Norma Collins with AARP Missouri says starting in 2011, beneficiaries will start getting a 50 percent discount on name-brand drugs. That discount will increase until the gap is closed in 2020 under the new federal healthcare overhaul law.

She says the checks going out this year aren’t a solution, but the beginning of one.

Collins warns senior citizens that when federal checks are issued it’s a prime breeding ground for scams. She warns check recipients to never give out any personal information to anyone who calls them to ask about their money.

Anyone who has questions about their check can call 1-888-OUR-AARP (687-2277) or 1-800-MEDICARE.

“More than 3 million people fall into the doughnut hole each year, and millions more live in fear of reaching this expensive gap in coverage,” AARP reports. “Research shows that people who have trouble paying for their prescription drugs are more likely to skip doses or stop taking their medications altogether, which can lead to more serious health problems and higher long-term costs both for them and for our health care system as a whole.”