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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2017:01:04 21:28:14

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:05:31 20:00:51

by Keith Kleinman

HOW DOES MEDICARE ADVANTAGE WORK?

Medicare Advantage permits Medicare beneficiaries to receive health care through managed care plans (e.g., HMOs) and private fee-for-service plans. When you join a Medicare Advantage plan (also known as Medicare Part C), you may be able to save money on your health-care costs, and you may get additional benefits not found in original Medicare.

To enroll in Medicare Advantage, you must be covered under both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

Unfortunately, not all plans are available in all areas. To learn about what options are available in your region, call 800-MEDICARE or visit the Medicare website at medicare.gov.

DOES THE HEALTH-CARE REFORM LAW AFFECT MEDICARE?

In some ways, yes, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) does impact Medicare.

Recipients get discounts in the prescription coverage gap known as the “donut hole.” You’ll also be entitled to free annual wellness exams, and you’ll no longer have to make co-payments for preventive services such as tobacco use cessation counseling, cancer and diabetes screenings, and other chronic diseases.

The ACA also attempts to extend the Medicare Trust Fund by reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, and by slowing the cost growth of Medicare.

NEW MEDICARE CARDS ARE COMING

If you receive Medicare, you will be getting a new Medicare card in the mail. To help prevent fraud and fight identity theft, Medicare is removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards. Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you.

When are new cards being mailed?

Medicare will be mailing new red, white, and blue paper Medicare cards between April 2018 and April 2019. Card mailings will be staggered, so the timing will depend on your geographical location.

Newly eligible people will begin receiving the new cards starting in April.

The following table from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows when Medicare will be mailing cards to existing Medicare recipients. You can check the status of card mailings in your area on medicare.gov/newcard.

Wave Number 1

Cards Mailing: Beginning May 2018

States Included: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

Wave Number 2

Cards Mailing: Beginning May 2018

States Included: Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon

Wave Number 3

Cards Mailing: After June 2018

States Included: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Wave Number 4

Cards Mailing: After June 2018

States Included: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

Wave Number 5

Cards Mailing: After June 2018

States Included: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina

Wave Number 6

Cards Mailing: After June 2018

States Included: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Wave Number 7

Cards Mailing: After June 2018

States Included: Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virgin Islands Some tips on using your new Medicare card

The following tips are from the Medicare website.

• Your new card will be mailed to you automatically. You don’t need to do anything as long as your address is up-to-date. If you need to update your address, contact Social Security at ssa.gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213.

• Once you receive your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.

• Doctors, other health-care providers, and facilities will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care, so carry it with you.

• If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare – you should still keep and use it whenever you need care. However, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card, too.

• Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give out personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card.

• Scam artists may try to get personal information (like your current Medicare Number) by contacting you about your new card. If so, hang up and call 1-800-Medicare.

Contact Keith Kleinman at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, 270 Pierce Street, Kingston, PA, 18704 or call 570-283-8140.