The nation’s Medicare recipients will benefit from several provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which kick in New Year’s Day.

According to Families USA, a consumers health care advocacy group, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to obtain cost-free preventive services under the new law. There no longer will be a deductible or copayment for services like mammograms, prostate screenings, colorectal cancer screenings or bone mass measurements for seniors. Medicare beneficiaries also can get a free annual check-up and personal health evaluation from their physician starting in the new year.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said approximately 1.8 million Ohio seniors will become eligible for the new preventive services as a result of the health reform law.

The new year also will usher in some relief for seniors caught in the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” coverage gap. Beginning in 2011, they will be eligible to receive 50-percent discounts on eligible brand-name drugs. Discounts will increase in subsequent years until the hole is filled. According to Brown’s office, more than 100,000 Ohio seniors are in the doughnut hole. The new health care law provided a modicum of relief to these seniors in 2010 with a one-time $250 rebate check once they entered the doughnut hole.
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