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      What You Need to Know About Health Care Changes

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      Medicare Part D is a federal program that offersprescription drug coverage to anyone with Medicare. Today, thirty-two millionMedicare beneficiaries, more than half of those enrolled in Medicare, receivedtheir prescription drug coverage through Medicare Part D as of September 2012.

      This year, there has been a lot of debate about the newhealth care law. Here's what you need to know:

      • Anyonewho is eligible for Medicare may join a Medicare prescription drug plan to gethelp paying for prescription drug costs.
      • Thehealth reform law calls for gradually lowering out-of-pocket costs when seniorsenrolled in Medicare Part D reach the coverage gap, otherwise known as the"doughnut hole."
      • Beginningin 2011, enrollees who reached the gap began receiving a 50% manufacturerdiscount on the total cost of brand-name drugs and additional subsidies forgeneric medications.
      • Medicarewill phase in additional subsidies for brand-name drugs beginning in 2013.

      If you qualify for Medicare, you only have until December7, 2012 to either sign up for or switch your Medicare prescription drugcoverage. There are a number of prescription drug plans to choose from, soMedicare beneficiaries can't afford to miss the opportunity to make a choicethat is best for them.

      For more information, go to www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

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