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     With 2012 under way, it is important that those persons ages 65 and older and their families are aware of the changes that will be made to Medicare under the Patient Protection and Affordability Act. Interesting information is posted at http://www.hapnetwork.org/assets/pdfs/2012-fact-sheet/pdf and includes the following:

     The Sections that will be mostly affected are Parts C and D. Medicare Part C, referred to as Medicare Advantage gives Medicare beneficiaries the option to choose private insurance instead of using Medicare Parts A and B. The reform will require these Medicare Advantage Plans to use a single, uniform exceptions and appeals process, payment rates will be reduced in phases based on a new formula that takes in to consideration geographic variations, and high-quality plans that receive four or more stars will receive a bonus.

     Part D of Medicare focuses on Prescription Drugs. One of the main changes that occurred on January 1, 2012 will “eliminate cost-sharing for dual-eligible beneficiaries receiving services under a Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) waiver program.” In addition, just as with Part C, the reform will require a single, uniform exceptions and appeals process. Lastly, continuing in 2012 the reform will continue to close the donut hole.

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