News Flash:  Congress has passed the Affordable Care Act that ensures all Americans access to quality health care! For seniors, it provides new Medicare protections and cost savings, including:

Free Preventive Care
Starting in 2011, Medicare will provide full and complete coverage for:

  • One yearly wellness-visit or check-up.
  • Screenings for colorectal, cervical and prostate cancers.
  • Cardiovascular, diabetes and EKG screenings.
  • Annual flu shots.
  • Vaccinations for pneumonia and hepatitis Type B.

Cheaper Prescription Drug Coverage
Currently, Medicare Part D for prescription drugs covers your chosen plan’s formulary or list of approved drugs. Here’s how most Part D plans now work:

  • You must pay a yearly deductible of $310.
  • After that deductible, Medicare will reimburse you 75 percent for each formulary drug purchased.
  • As 2010 proceeds, should your total costs for formulary drugs reach $2,830, you will enter Medicare’s coverage gap or “donut hole,” and your Part D reimbursements will immediately stop. Medicare will automatically send you a $250 rebate check.
  • Once you’ve spent a total of $3,610 on formulary drugs in 2010, Part D’s catastrophic coverage kicks in. You will only be responsible to pay either 5 percent for each formulary drug purchased, or $2.50 for each generic and $6.30 for each brand-name drug, whichever is greater.

Medicare’s new donut hole protections will start in 2011. You will immediately receive a 50 percent discount on all brand-name drugs from their pharmaceutical manufacturers. The discount percentage will continue to increase until 2020, when Medicare Part D will provide 75 percent coverage for all formulary and generic drugs, and catastrophic coverage will no longer apply.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ new website at HealthCare.gov provides important information on preventive health care, and compares the quality of services provided by hospitals throughout the U.S.