New Medicare Benefits for 2011
Starting on January 1, 2011, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the vast majority of people with Medicare will see important new improvements to their coverage that will help make sure they get the very best care when they need it from doctors that they choose.
- Original Medicare will no longer have out-of-pocket costs for the “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam as of January 1, 2011 and, for the first time since the Medicare program was created in 1965, Original Medicare will cover an annual wellness visit with a participating doctor, also at no cost.
- In addition to these annual wellness visits, most people with Medicare will be able to receive critical preventive services, including certain cancer screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies, for free.
- Also this year, the Affordable Care Act takes an additional step for Medicare beneficiaries who fall into the prescription drug coverage gap, or “donut hole,” by providing them with a 50 percent discount on covered brand name medications while in the donut hole. In addition, in 2011 Medicare will begin paying 7% of the price for generic drugs during the coverage gap.
- Every year from 2011 until 2020, the Affordable Care Act will take progressive steps to close the donut hole. To date, 3 million Medicare beneficiaries received one-time $250 rebate check to help with drug costs while in the “donut hole” in 2010.
- In 2011, the Affordable Care Act also will begin providing qualifying doctors and other health care professionals providing primary care to people with Medicare a 10 percent bonus for primary care services. This will help ensure that those primary care providers can continue to be there for Medicare patients.
To watch a video message from Secretary Sebelius on the new benefits the Affordable Care Act provides in 2011 for people on Medicare, click here.
People with Medicare can learn more about the “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam, research other new benefits like the annual wellness visit, search for participating doctors in their area, and find other helpful information by contacting a trained customer service representative toll-free at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visiting www.medicare.gov
Posted: January 21, 2011