Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Medicare Benefits

Medicare beneficiaries will soon be mailed a brochure explaining the effects of the Patient Affordable Care Act.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Regional Director Nancy O’Connor says one of the most noticeable benefits some Medicare recipients will receive is a $250 check. O’Connor says the check is meant to help cover prescription drug costs for people who are in the so-called “donut hole.”

“The donut hole is the period of time in the prescription drug benefit in which a beneficiary has to pay 100% of the cost of drugs out of pocket,” says O’Connor. “The Affordable Care Act begins to close that donut hole and this $250, one-time check is the first step in doing that.”

O’Connor says beginning next year, those within the donut hole will be given a 50% discount on brand-name prescription drugs. She says the goal is to close the donut hole by 2020.

Other immediate benefits of the Affordable Care Act include colorectal cancer screening and mammograms without cost-sharing, and a free annual “wellness checkup.”

More information can be found at the Medicare website or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

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