It is the season to enroll in Medicare and local experts can help you find the plan that is best for you.
Yvonne Kudray-Baraban, an independent broker who specializes in selling Medicare insurance through her company Medicare Benefits Consulting, L.L.C., said Medicare open enrollment began last month and runs through Monday, Dec. 7.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be more Medicare Advantage plans providing telehealth services and coverage to allow their members to obtain medical treatment while staying in their homes, Kudray-Baraban said. Telehealth services allow members to communicate with doctors through video conferences.
Kudray-Baraban noted that the biggest change Medicare Advantage plans will make in 2021 is due to the 21st Century Cures Act. Medicare beneficiaries who have end-stage renal disease could previously enroll only in Medicare Advantage plans under limited circumstances, but now they can enroll in these plans starting in January.
Kudray-Baraban said the advantage of utilizing an independent broker to find a Medicare plan is that the broker works for you and can provide more than just one option. The independent broker’s services do not cost anything as the broker receives a commission directly from the carrier whose plan is selected. You can reach her at 602-575-0622 or via Yvonne.Kudray@Cox.net.
The Area Agency on Aging, Region One, Maricopa County also provides free information to make selecting a Medicare plan easier. Its online resource library offers details on the two programs available in Medicare’s Benefits Assistance program – the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and the Senior Medicare Fraud Patrol. You can ask questions, obtain help interpreting your Medicare billing statements and gather other information by meeting with volunteer counselors at many locations in Phoenix. To learn more, visit aaaphx.org/program-services/benefits-assistance-programs.
The Senior Medicare Fraud Patrol teaches the public about healthcare fraud prevention and helps investigate and file claims to help resolve issues when someone is a healthcare fraud victim. If you suspect Medicare fraud, you can call 1-800-432-4040 or call the Area Agency on Aging’s 24-hour Senior HELP LINE at 602-264-HELP (4357).
AARP warns that if you are currently enrolled in Medicare, you will not receive a new chip card to replace your paper ID card.
Senior Medicare Patrols help Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers in order to prevent, detect and report healthcare fraud, abuse and errors. Learn more by calling 1-800-432-4040 or visiting smpresource.org.