Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Q&A Health Care Reform: If You Are on Medicare

We know health reform is big and confusing. Some parts of the law started in 2010. Other parts are rolling out over the next eight years. Texas physicians have carefully studied the law to help you understand what the changes mean to your health care.

Here are a few questions Texas patients have asked their doctors. There are many more. Please feel free to submit your questions to Me&MyDoctor.

What If I’m on Medicare?

Q. Will it be easier for seniors to find a doctor?

A. No. In fact, the new law did nothing to fix a 10-year-old problem in Medicare. That problem is forcing doctors to limit the number of Medicare patients we see or even to quit taking Medicare patients. Your doctors are asking Congress to fix the problem so we can continue to care for our patients.

Q. Will seniors get preventive services?

A. Medicare now covers the entire cost of checkups and recommended screenings like colonoscopies and mammograms. Medicare patients do not have to pay any copay or deductible for these services.

Q. Does the new law affect the cost of prescriptions?

A. The new law helps seniors on Medicare (Part D) prescription-drug plans by reducing their out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. The coverage gap, called "the donut hole," will be gradually reduced until it is goes away in 2020.

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