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Medicare Updates by HICAP

by David Weil Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman With Medicare, you have special rights and protections. There are resources available to you to make sure your rights are protected, including the Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman. The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman helps you with Medicare-related complaints, grievances, and information requests. The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman makes sure information is available about: What you need to know to make health care decisions that are right for you Your Medicare rights and protections How you can get issues resolved The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman also shares information with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Congress, and other organizations about what does and doesn’t work well, to improve the quality of the services and care you get through Medicare. If you’ve contacted 1-800-MEDICARE about a Medicare-related inquiry or complaint but still need help, ask the 1-800-MEDICARE representative to send your inquiry or complaint to the Medicare Ombudsman’s Office. The Medicare Ombudsman’s Office helps make sure that your inquiry or complaint is resolved. Excerpted from the official U.S. Government...

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Medicare Updates by HICAP

By David Weil  Are you interested in making a difference in the lives of Medicare beneficiaries? The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program is looking for intelligent, communicative, and motivated volunteers willing to train to become Registered Medicare Counselors. During confidential one-on-one counseling sessions, HICAP Counselors empower clients to make informed decisions about their health care by educating Medicare beneficiaries and their families about Medicare benefits, coverage options, low income programs, rights, and protections. We also advocate on behalf of beneficiaries, helping to resolve entitlement errors, service denials, and billing issues, and screening beneficiaries for eligibility into various assistance programs. To become a Counselor, we ask that you make a one-year minimum commitment to HICAP. Upon completion of a rigorous four-week training program, volunteers are certified by the State of California as Medicare Counselors; maintaining certification requires 40 counseling hours and 12 continuing education hours annually. We ask Counselors to see clients by appointment two days per month in addition to attending a monthly In-Service meeting. All volunteer time will take place...

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Medicare Updates by HICAP

Limited Choices for Current Medicare Enrollees By David Weil Medicare beneficiaries who are unhappy with their current coverage have very few choices when it comes to changing plans during this time of year. So, what can you do if you are intent on changing? You have two basic choices: 1) dis-enroll from your current coverage and return to original Medicare. Should you dis-enroll from a Medigap, also known as a Medicare Supplement, you can still keep your Part D prescription drug plan, but you will be responsible for all the cost-sharing, copays and co-insurance in addition to the monthly Part B premium;  2) Enroll in Kaiser Senior Advantage plan, an HMO Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage and is allowed to take enrollees all throughout the year because it has been designated a 5-Star plan by Medicare. (If you have Extra Help or Medi-Cal, you can change plans during any month).  Before making any changes, speak with a HICAP counselor and make sure you have considered all...

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