Help available to update, change Medicare plans

Published Oct 19, 2018 at 4:00pm

The period for updating and changing Medicare health and prescription-drug plans has begun and continues through Dec. 7, according to the New York State Office for the Aging, which has help for Medicare recipients at local aging offices.

“This is an important time of year for older adults to review their plans—what they cover and what they cost—to ensure they are getting the best deal for themselves,” state Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said.

The agency also warned of telephone scams seeking personal information to get an updated Medicare card.

The federal Medicare agency began mailing updated membership cards in April and will continue through April 2019.

The cards contain a unique Medicare number and allow members to destroy their old card containing their Social Security number, which can be destroyed once the new Medicare card arrives.

There’s no action needed to get the cards, and anyone asking for personal information related to Medicaid other than doctors, pharmacists, other care providers, and insurance companies and someone trusted to work on the member’s behalf may be conducting a scam, the Office for the Aging warned. If someone calls and asks for a recipient’s Medicare number or other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). 

Several resources are available to help Medicare beneficiaries and their families review and compare current plan coverage with new plan offerings:

Medicare.gov has comprehensive information for people interested in signing up or changing their plans. The Medicare Plan Finder tool provides a personalized comparison of plan choices.

1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) offers around-the-clock assistance for those who want to find out more about coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Multilingual counseling is available.

One-on-one counseling assistance is available from counselors at each local office for the aging or through s toll free line: (800)701-0501.

Medicare recipients who have limited incomes and resources may qualify for extra help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs. Older adults may apply online or call Social Security at (800) 772-1213. TTY users should call (800) 325-0778.