Those individuals who are Medicare age now or will be in the near future will see benefits expand slightly under a basic package of Medicare benefits. Let’s start with prescription drugs, or what is known as Part D. At the end of August nearly 1 million Medicare beneficiaries received a $250 check to help bridge the coverage gap, or what is better known as the “doughnut hole”. This is the gap in Part D coverage where beneficiaries must pay the full cost of their prescriptions until the catastrophic coverage kicks in. Starting in 2011, beneficiaries will receive 50 percent discounts on brand name drugs and 7 percent discounts on generic drugs while they’re in the coverage gap. The new health law is scheduled to close the gap entirely by 2020. Beginning in 2011 the new changes to health care also state that Medicare beneficiaries won’t have to pay co-payments or deductibles on many preventive health care services, including diabetes and cervical cancer screenings. Medicare will also pay for your annual wellness visit to the doctor. If you are looking for sound advice when it comes to Medicare, call or email me I am happy to help. ~ Bryan Valentine.