Here are a few resources to help you navigate Medicare:
The official government site (www.medicare.gov) provides extensive information about each program. Every fall, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also sends Medicare recipients a comprehensive 150-page handbook, “Medicare & You.” The handbook includes charts to help decide on coverage, including comparisons of Medicare Advantage and other health plans in New York City and surrounding counties. You can download the handbook from the website—see the “Helpful Links” section. Consumers also can call 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227) to get the most current information.
Medicare.gov has a link to MyMedicare.gov, a free secure site designed to help beneficiaries check the status of their eligibility, enrollment, and other Medicare benefits. It also lets people access their claims information almost immediately after it’s processed and provides beneficiaries preventive health information daily.
HIICAP. New York State’s Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program, or HIICAP, is a federally-funded program that offers more personalized counseling for seniors and their families. Trained volunteers can provide information, free counseling and assistance on a whole range of health insurance programs, including traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D, and Supplemental coverage.
Administered by the county aging offices, HIICAP programs are provided through local nonprofits:
Nassau County (Family and Children’s Association): Call 516-485-3754
Suffolk County (RSVP): Call 631- 979-9490 ext. 18 or Suffolk/NY Connects (631- 853-8200).
www.aarp.org. AARP’s website also offers numerous articles that can help caregivers navigate through various issues. Search for “Medicare Basics.”
Medicare Rights Center
The Medicare Rights Center, an independent, nonprofit consumer organization, is another useful resource for seniors and caregivers nationwide. The center offers a free telephone counseling, providing information, answering questions about coverage and assisting individuals having problems accessing service.