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New Year Brings Changes to Medicare

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Medicare will now cover more services for women.
RALEIGH — The new year brings new coverage in thenation's largest health service to the elderly. Medicare will now cover offer additional benefits, including coverage of tests to help detectcancer earlier. The benefit expansion is expected to help save morelives. while controlling taxpayer costs in the medicare program.

According to Oncologist Dr. Margaret Deutsch, medical experts agreethat prevention and early detection of disease reduces life threateningillness, particularly where cancer is concerned.

Women's health care also gets added attention in the new medicarecoverage. Medicare will now pay for yearly mammograms, withoutdeductibles, to detect breast cancer. It also pays for breast exams, and pelvic exams and pap smears to help detect cervical cancers.

This new plan, for the first time, pays for colo-rectal cancerscreening for male and female patients over the age of 50. These benefitssave patients money now, and taxpayers money later.

In July, Medicare benefits will increase again. Diabetes glucosemonitoring will be paid for, whether or not the patient is insulindependent. Diabetes education will also be covered.

Medicare also will begin paying for bone mass measurement, used inosteoporosis screening. The plan will also cover for flu andpneumococcal pneumonia shots.

This year's changes in the Medicare System will offer choices to patients.Some of the choices are familiar, such as HMOs, preferred provider plans, and other managed care options will be available. Medicare patients willrecieve more information about their new choices in the mail within thenext two months.

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