Last week Medicare sent out $50 million in wrong payments to 230,000 recipients. Recipients were reimbursed for monthly premiums they had already paid for prescription coverage. Each payment has averaged about $215.

Recipients are bound to be confused and alarmed. It is likely many will think their prescription cover has been cancelled. This has not happened - NOBODY'S STATUS IS AFFECTED BY THIS - COVER CONTINUES.

Now, all 230,000 recipients will get another letter saying this was a mistake and not to worry, because their coverage will continue. About 5 million elderly and disabled Americans have their monthly premiums automatically deducted from their Social Security check. The letter also tells them not to cash the check.

Medicare officials said it is important that these people understand their coverage has not been affected in any way by this mistake. Officials added that they have identified the glitch in the system and corrected it.

Because of the glitch, deductions from people's Social Security Checks will not resume until October - but their cover is unaffected.

Unfortunately for many, the checks have to be sent back.

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