Area Agency on Aging Can Help Navigate Medicare Options

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The Area Agency on Aging’s Benefits Assistance Program can help individuals navigate often-confusing and complicated Medicare options whether during the current enrollment period as well as the general enrollment period or with another Medicare related activity. 

 “When you consider that Medicare-eligible beneficiaries in Maricopa County can choose from more than 35 Medicare Advantage HMO plans and 27 Medicare Prescription PDP plans, sold by several insurers, working through the details can be daunting,” said Area Agency on Aging President and CEO Mary Lynn Kasunic.

The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period, which runs through December 7, is the time of year for beneficiaries to evaluate their Medicare Prescription and Medicare Advantage options and to ensure that their current plan will continue to meet their needs for the new year. Individual needs and options may change over time, so it’s important to review Medicare plans annually during Open Enrollment. 

Every year, trained Area Agency on Aging benefits counselors provide unbiased help to over 15,000 Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers ensure they make informed choices. 

Counselors can assist those who are new to Medicare, those who need assistance reviewing Medicare plan options, or those who have questions on how to use their Medicare. Counselors can also help determine an individual’s qualifications for Medicare cost-savings programs such as the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program (QMB). 

“Although most of the Area Agency’s Medicare calls come during Open Enrollment, benefits counselors are available year-round to help you understand and compare options so individuals can make the best choices for them and their loved ones,” Kasunic said. “Counselors also can assist in accessing providers, correcting billing issues and filing complaints and appeals.”

Benefits Assistance staff also can help during other Medicare enrollment periods including the General Open Enrollment period (January 1 to March 31) for those who missed their initial Medicare Enrollment Period, and the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage Plan Members (January 1 to March 31) to make one-time changes to a Medicare Advantage plan.

At this time, all services are provided by phone. The Medicare Benefits Check Up can also be accessed through the Area Agency on Aging’s website at www.aaaphx.org. The website contains other helpful and educational information about Medicare. 

 For one-on-one counseling or to request an educational presentation call the Benefits Assistance Program at 602-280-1059, the 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE at 602-264-4357 or visit www.aaaphx.org

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