: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
: 12.30 MB
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I'm honored and excited to announce the 2011 Medicare handbook-the best and official source of answers to your Medicare questions. At the Department of Health and Human Services, we're doing more than ever to carry Medicare into the future. The Affordable Care Act makes many improvements to Medicare. Moreover, it guarantees that you will continue to have your basic Medicare benefits-whether you get them through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan. As an example of the types of improvements underway, if you have Medicare prescription drug coverage with a coverage gap (also known as the "donut hole"), the new law will reduce that gap over several years to make prescription drugs even more affordable. If you reach the coverage gap in 2010, you may qualify to get a one-time $250 rebate check. If you reach the coverage gap in 2011, you may get a 50% discount on brand-name prescription drugs when you buy them. There will be additional savings in the coverage gap each year through 2020, when the donut hole is closed completely. The new law also prevents Medicare Advantage Plans from charging you more than Original Medicare for cancer treatment and certain other services that you might need. If you have Original Medicare, you will now be able to get a yearly wellness exam and most preventive services for free. If you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan, check with your plan to see if these benefits will also be free for you. Doctors, hospitals, and Medicare Advantage Plans will have new incentives to improve the quality of care you receive. There will be better coordination of your care after you're discharged from a hospital to ensure that you get the services you need after your hospital stay. It will also be easier to find out which long-term care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitative hospitals, and hospice care programs provide better care in your area. These are just a few of the exciting new changes to help improve your health care now and in the future, while continuing to keep you healthy, Medicare strong, and your personal information safe. If you have questions, visit Medicare's new and improved Web site at www.medicare.gov, or call 1 800 MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or area agency on aging, or visit the Administration on Aging at www.aoa.gov.