WASHINGTON--(ENEWSPF)--May 3, 2010. Today AARP released two new fact sheets detailing important Medicare provisions in the new health care reform law. The policy summaries explain changes to the Medicare prescription drug benefit and private Medicare Advantage plans.

“AARP will provide straight-forward, objective information about the new health reform law to seniors and to those who serve them,” said AARP Executive Vice President John Rother. “In the coming months, we’ll continue to provide detailed analysis about what this package means for older Americans.”

AARP’s new fact sheet on the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” provides easy-to-read charts that explain how much consumers can expect to pay for their prescription drugs as the doughnut hole closure phases in from now until 2020, when the gap will be closed entirely.

A second fact sheet on changes to the Medicare Advantage program details how payment rates will be adjusted based on local health care spending and plan quality in order to improve the efficiency and quality of care patients receive. The analysis notes that plans in urban areas—where Medicare spending is highest—will feel the greatest impact, while high quality plans with the highest efficiency will be rewarded with additional bonuses.

Rother added: “By paying plans based on their performance, Medicare can help improve quality and health outcomes while saving both seniors and taxpayers billions of dollars.”

The fact sheets are available at
http://www.aarp.org/research/ppi/health-care/other/articles/healthreformfs.html 

AARP also has information about the health care reform law for consumers, including brochures and a column answering readers’ questions, available at
http://www.aarp.org/getthefacts