The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Monday that it will soon be mailing a publication on what the new health care law means to Medicare recipients and persons who will be enrolling in the program this fall.

People with Internet access, however, won't have to wait for the mail. The publication is available under the "What's New" section at www.medicare.gov.

"It's important that our Medicare beneficiaries get facts about this important new law timely so they can learn what stays the same and what will change and improve in terms of their benefits," Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator, said in a statement.

One piece of good news is that people who are not already receiving Medicare Extra Help, who find themselves in the Part D "doughnut hole" this year, will receive a one-time $250 rebate check.

"The doughnut hole is the period in the prescription drug benefit in which the beneficiary pays 100 percent of the cost of their drugs until they hit the catastrophic coverage," the statement says.

Next year, people in the doughnut hole will receive a 50 percent discount when buying Part D-covered brand name drugs.

Over the next 10 years the hole will shrink until it closes in 2020.

Also next year, Medicare recipients can get free preventive-care services such as colorectal screenings, mammograms and annual physicals.


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The law promises to combat elder abuse and neglect and improve nursing homes.

Although it gave no details, the publication said the law creates a voluntary insurance program called CLASS to help pay for long-term care and support at home.