Healthcare reform ups Medicare payments

Dec. 30, 2010 at 8:14 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Parts of the Affordable Care Act effective next month will provide a 10 percent Medicare bonus for primary care physicians and surgeons, U.S. officials say.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says that Jan. 1, when several provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect, healthcare insurers will be required to spend 80 percent to 85 percent of premiums on medical care; cut government overpayments to insurance companies; reduce the costs of prescription drugs for seniors and provide free preventive service for those on Medicare.

"Starting Jan. 1, insurance companies will have to spend a larger share of premiums on the care of patients and consumers -- not on chief executive officer salaries," Pelosi said in a statement. "Taxpayers will save, as government cracks down on overpayments to insurers. Seniors will gain free access to annual check-ups and screenings, and those in the 'donut hole' will get a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs.

"In 2010, we kept our promises by helping small businesses cover their employees and seniors afford prescription drugs," Pelosi said. "We gave young people the security of knowing that they can stay on the parents' plans until age 26. And we ended shameful insurance practices that canceled coverage when someone gets sick or denied care to a child with a pre-existing condition."

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