| Mon, Oct 24, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

Where to go to get answers to your Medicare questions.

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Whether you’re interested in Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, Medicare Supplement Insurance or a combination, there are plenty of resources available online to help you select a plan that works for you.

Sometimes the answers you need to your Medicare questions depend on your circumstances. Maybe you or your loved one have a health condition to consider, or certain doctors you want to see, or medications you want to be sure are covered. Whether you prefer talking to a Medicare expert, reading printed materials or doing your research online, there are plenty of reliable resources available to help you get answers to your questions about Medicare.

Medicare

Medicare.gov is the official government website for Medicare. Start with the section called Medicare Basics to get the gist of how Medicare works and what it covers. Visit the Resource Locator section for help finding a doctor, researching care facilities, or for tools like the Medicare Plan Finder. Enter some basic information about yourself and your coverage needs into the Medicare Plan Finder for a list of plans available in your area. Be sure to see Medicare.gov’s section devoted to caregiver support.

You can also download print materials (Medicare & You is quite comprehensive), or speak to a Medicare expert by calling their helpline. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

AARP

The AARP website has educational materials about Medicare in its health section. You can also order publications online. Check out AARP’s Medicare Education Center for a Medicare overview.

MedicareMadeClear.com

This Medicare education website has short videos about Medicare, and much more. Follow the online Decision Road Map through each stage of the decision-making process, then download a checklist of things you’ll want to think about as you or your loved one enroll or switch plans. You can also download PDFs of Medicare education materials and sign up for an email newsletter.

Social Security Administration

For help with questions about eligibility for and enrolling in and paying for Medicare (or Social Security retirement benefits and disability benefits), call 1-800-772-1213, TTY 1-800-325-0778 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Administration on Aging

For help in finding local, state and community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers in your area, call 1-800-677-1116, TTY 711, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Or go to Eldercare.gov.

Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

For help with questions about choosing and buying health insurance, a prescription drug plan or Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) and your rights and protection under Medicare, call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program. This program offers free counseling for decisions about Medicare coverage. In some states, this program is called the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). Learn more.

Talk to trusted individuals in your community

Sometimes experts in your community are able to help. Wondering if your doctor accepts Medicare? Talk to the office administrators to find out more. Looking for a way to lower your drug costs under Medicare? Your local pharmacist may have some ideas. Unsure how to get help covering costs for a serious illness, or advice on long-term care? Your local SHIP program (contact info above) offers one-on-one free assistance to people with Medicare and their families.

For more information contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. You can also contact UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Made Clear to learn more at 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seen days a week.

Resources:

Download “Medicare & You” from Medicare.gov

Medicare.gov – Help and Support

Medicare Made Clear – FAQs

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