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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Help Available Locally For Medicare Changes

MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT STARTED NOVEMBER 15TH

Each year Medicare plans adjust what they cost and what they cover. Now is the time for people with Medicare to review the changes being made by their current plan and compare it to others to make sure it still meets their needs. Those who don’t have prescription drug coverage can also enroll in a drug plan during open enrollment.

Some beneficiaries may see significant premium increases or changes – such as reduced coverage in the “coverage gap” – if they stay in the same prescription drug plan in 2009. Medicare encourages individual beneficiaries to review how their plans are changing and what other options are available.

There are four ways to review and compare plans:

  1. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227, TTY 1-877-486-2048). 24 hour help is available from trained Medicare representatives.
  2. Visit www.medicare.gov. Compare costs, coverage and more. Get an estimate of your out-of-pocket costs for the year.
  3. See the listing of plans in your Medicare & You handbook and information sent to you by your plan.
  4. Talk with your local Medicare experts at the Potter County Area Agency on Aging’s Apprise Program.

People with Medicare should also be aware of Medicare fraud and identity theft. To help protect Medicare beneficiaries when speaking with plans and others about their Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare urges them to protect their Medicare number as they would their credit card information. People with Medicare should not give their information to anyone who comes to their home (or calls them) uninvited selling Medicare-related products. If you or someone you love is not sure if a provider is approved by Medicare, simply call 1-800-MEDICARE.

Important Medicare Enrollment Dates:

Nov. 15th – Open Enrollment Begins

Enroll as soon as possible, the sooner the better to avoid any inconvenience at the pharmacy counter in January.

Dec. 31st – Open Enrollment Ends

Jan. 1, 2009 – Coverage Begins

In an effort to assist Potter County’s Medicare beneficiaries, Potter County Human Services Area Agency on Aging’s Apprise Counselors will be available on the following dates to answer questions, compare Medicare Plans and enroll beneficiaries:

Wed. Dec. 3- Galeton Senior Center, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Thurs. Dec. 4- Galeton Library- 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Fri. Dec. 5- Coudersport Library, 9:00 am – 10:30 am

Fri. Dec. 5- Coudersport Senior Center, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Tues. Dec. 9- Oswayo Valley Senior Center, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Wed. Dec. 10, Potter County Human Services, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Thurs. Dec. 11, Genesee Library, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Wed. Dec. 17, Ulysses Senior Center, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Wed. Dec 17, Ulysses Library, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Medicare beneficiaries are asked to bring the following information with them when they meet with the Apprise Counselors: Medicare card, Medical Assistance (ACCESS) card, PACE or PACENET card, all Insurance cards and a list of all medications taken, including dosage.

Medicare beneficiaries can call Potter County Human Services Area Agency on Aging to speak with an Apprise Counselor. For more information call Apprise Counselors Darcy Shutt, BSW, and Susie Mainus at 814-544-7315 or 1-800-800-2560

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