How does the recent Medicare reform legislation impact my Medicare coverage?
Author :    -   Subject : Health

    Presuming President Bush signs the Bill recently passed by Congress:

    Starting this spring, people with Medicare will be able to join a drug discount card that Medicare has approved. This card will immediately provide savings on your prescriptions. Individuals whose income is less than $12,124 each year or married couples whose income is less than $16,363 may qualify for $600 to help pay for prescription drugs.

    Beginning in 2006, all people with Medicare will have access to a voluntary prescription drug benefit with significant savings for seniors and people living with disabilities.

    Medicare will contract with private companies to offer new discount cards.

    Prescription drug discount cards that are approved by Medicare will display a Medicare approved mark on the card. This mark will also be featured on materials that explain the cards to people with Medicare who may be interested in enrolling in a card.

    Beginning in 2006, Medicare will offer several ways for seniors to voluntarily receive prescription drug coverage.

    If you are in the Original Medicare Plan, you may enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan. Prescription Drug Plans are private plans that will contract with Medicare to provide drug coverage to people with Medicare who live in a certain area.

    People with Medicare will be able to enroll in a private health plan, known as Medicare Advantage Plan. These plans may be a local Health Maintenance Organization or a regional Preferred Provider Organization. Medicare Advantage Plans will offer drug coverage in addition to other medical benefits.

    Some people with Medicare may receive prescription drug coverage through a former employer, just as they do today, and Medicare will help that employer pay for the coverage.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson's November 25, 2003 news statement titled "Secretary Thompson Applauds Final Passage of Medicare Bill" is available for viewing on

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will provide updated information regarding the Medicare reform legislation as it becomes available on

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