| Tue, Jan 10, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

5 Ways the Affordable Care Act Changed Medicare for 2012

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

The changes to Medicare for 2012 offer more choices, more benefits and lower overall costs.Some of the most important changes in Medicare for 2012 are due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here are five key things you should know about the ACA and your Medicare coverage.

1. Your prescription drugs will be more affordable.

The Medicare Part D coverage gap is shrinking over time. This means you’ll pay less out-of-pocket for prescription drugs each year during the gap than you paid the year before. The gap is on course to close in 2020. In 2012, you will pay 86% of the cost of generic drugs and about 50% of the cost of most brand-name drugs during the coverage gap.

2. You’ll get even more preventive services for free.

Everyone with Medicare has access to a variety of preventive services. These services are free, which means there are no copays or cost sharing for you. Preventive screenings and services include colorectal cancer screening, mammograms, bone density tests and more. You can also get a free yearly wellness visit to develop and update your personal prevention plan based on current health needs.

3. You and your doctors can more easily manage your health care needs.

The ACA offers your doctors a robust network of support and resources to help them focus on your specific health care needs, helping you to return home from hospitalizations successfully and to avoid a return trip. Your care will be better coordinated, and you’ll be connected to services and support in your community.

4. Your Medicare Advantage plan will work harder for you.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, the ACA makes sure you will be protected from large premium increases and benefit reductions. Medicare reviews changes to your plan before they happen to stop the ones that are unreasonable. Also, beginning in 2012, Medicare Advantage plans that achieve a rating of three stars or more from Medicare’s quality rating system will be paid a bonus. This means Medicare Advantage plans have even more reason to improve the quality of care you receive.

5. You’ll have expanded access to care.

The ACA ensures that you will have more primary care doctors, nurses and physician assistants available to you. You can still choose your doctor—you will just have more options.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. You can also contact Medicare Made Clear at 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources:

Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services: A Medicare publication that explains what preventive services are covered and what you will pay for them

Y0066_111206_153505 File & Use 12142011