Regional agency on aging to help provide benefits advice to Medicare beneficiaries through open enrollment offers tips to avoid Medicare fraud

Kilgore, October 13, 2022: People on Medicare have more choices and options for their Medicare coverage in 2023. Plan costs and covered benefits have changed, so the East Texas Regional Agency on Aging (AAA) encourages people with Medicare to consider their coverage choices and decide which options best suit their health needs. Open enrollment for the 2023 Medicare Health and Drug Plans begins October 15, 2022 and ends December 7, 2022, giving individuals the opportunity to modify their plans.

Changes Medicare beneficiaries can make during open enrollment include

  • Joining a New Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D Prescription Drug Plan
  • Switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switching from a Medicare Advantage plan to Medicare Original (with or without a Part D plan)
Beneficiaries should always purchase a new drug plan and Medicare Advantage plan each year to ensure they get the best coverage at the best price to meet their needs. Plans can be viewed and compared at www.medicare.gov.

“I often hear people say, ‘I’m really happy with my current Medicare prescription plan, so I don’t need to call a benefits advisor or consider making any changes.’ What you might not realize is that the price of your current plan can change every year,” said AAA Director Colleen Halliburton. “If you don’t go through the plan review process, you could be surprised on January 1 by higher costs, and those costs will be locked in for another year.”

AAA is also known as the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and is available to compare your current coverage with available options and help you enroll at no cost. Speak to a qualified benefits counselor by calling the Regional Agency on Aging at 1-800-442-8845. You can make an appointment and be advised by phone, virtual meeting or in person.

Local scheduled presentations

Our Certified Benefits Advisors are hosting an event in multiple counties within the 14-county ETCOG region. These counties include Anderson, Henderson, Marion, Rains and Wood. A list of scheduled presentations with times and locations can be viewed at www.easttexasaaa.org/benefits-tips. These presentations require an appointment before arrival. To reserve your spot, call the Regional Agency on Aging at 1-800-442-8845.

Be on the lookout for these Medicare Open Enrollment scams

  • Medicare or a health plan calls and wants to send you a new health card for $299.
  • You get a call about a refund of last year’s premiums or the cost of your drug plan.
  • An agent tries to sign you up for a plan that you don’t need, doesn’t fit, or doesn’t even exist.
  • Beware of fake RX cards offering deep discounts with little or no benefits.
  • You get a call offering deep discounts on a new health insurance plan.

Tips to Stop Open Enrollment Fraud

  • Medicare will never call or visit. Medicare will only send information by regular mail.
  • Protect your health card and number like a credit card.
  • Only give your health insurance number to your doctor or other providers.
  • Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a quick decision.
  • If you receive a call, especially from a number you don’t recognize or from someone asking for personal information, hang up immediately.
  • Know your healthcare options. Get help from your family, the Medicare website, or your local Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
  • No health care plan is allowed to make cold calls.

For questions about fraud or to report a scam, please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-888-341-6187.

bad

About the East Texas Regional Agency on Aging

The East Texas Regional Agency on Aging is designated by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services to coordinate services for people in East Texas age 60 or older, with particular attention particular for low-income minority seniors, seniors with limited English proficiency. , and the elderly residing in rural areas. Programs include, but are not limited to, information, referral and assistance, benefits counselling/legal assistance, nursing home ombudsman, care coordination, the caregiver support program and transportation provided by GoBus. The Regional Agency on Aging offers nutrition programs delivering hot, nutritious meals to eligible homebound seniors and providing congregate meals at local senior centers. The Regional Agency on Aging is a program of ETCOG serving its 14-county region. www.easttexasaaa.org

About ETCOG

The East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) is a voluntary association of counties, cities, school districts, and special districts in the fourteen county region of East Texas. ETCOG helps local governments plan for common needs, cooperate for mutual benefit, and coordinate for healthy regional development. Established in 1970, ETCOG, directly or through its contractors, provides programs and services to seniors, employers, and job seekers in East Texas. ETCOG and its contractors also build the 9-1-1 emergency call delivery system, provide peace officer training and homeland security planning services; and providing rural transportation services, business funding programs, and environmental grants for the region. www.etcog.org
East Texas Council of Governments | (903) 218-6400 | www.etcog.org

Employer/Equal Opportunity Program.

Auxiliary aids and services are available on request for people with disabilities.

Comments are closed.