[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Medicare: Get Free Help | 10-14-2016
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
74°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 22
2000 - Historic Larinan house in Pico Canyon burns down [story]


Commentary by Cate Kortzeborn
| Friday, Oct 14, 2016

CateKortzebornWhen someone with Medicare finds his or her way to my office phone, it’s often because of a complicated and snarly issue that’s going to take time to fix.

However, it’s sometimes a Medicare beneficiary who found my number somewhere and called for some basic help in understanding their coverage. I love those calls because I have a quick and easy answer for folks like that.

I refer them to the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP. There’s a SHIP in every state in the country. I have phone numbers for the ones in my Medicare region written on a card right next to my phone, and I refer to it often.

SHIPs are nonprofit organizations that help people with Medicare understand their benefits better. The counseling is personalized and it’s absolutely free.

SHIPs aren’t connected to any insurance company or health plan, so they’re not trying to sell you any kind of product. If you’re eligible for Medicare, you’re eligible for assistance from your local SHIP. You can talk to a SHIP counselor over the phone, or go to your local SHIP office for face-to-face assistance.

The quality of the counseling is terrific. Many SHIP counselors have Medicare themselves and they’re well-trained to answer your questions. They know all the ins and outs of the program, whether you have Original Medicare (where you choose the doctor or hospital you want and the government pays your providers directly) or Medicare Advantage (in which private insurers offer health care services through a specific network of doctors, hospitals, and other providers). SHIPs also can help with Part D prescription drug insurance.

And did I mention that SHIP counseling is free?

Here are some of the issues that a SHIP counselor can help you with:

* Billing problems;

* Complaints about your medical care or treatment;

* How to shop for a Medicare Advantage health plan or Part D prescription drug plan that meets your needs;

* How to appeal if you disagree with coverage or payment decisions by Medicare or your Medicare plan;

* How Medicare works with other insurance.

How do you get in touch with SHIP? Below is the phone number for contacting the SHIP office closest to you if you live:

In Arizona: Call 800-432-4040

In California: Call 800-434-0222

In Hawaii: Call 808-586-7299

In Nevada: Call 800-307-4444

Of course, there are other ways besides SHIP to get information about Medicare. One excellent resource is the “Medicare & You” handbook, which is mailed to Medicare beneficiaries every fall.

“Medicare & You” is a gold mine of easy-to-understand information about how Medicare works, how to enroll, what services are covered, and many other topics. The handbook also lists all Medicare Advantage and Part D plans available in your area, their costs, and contact information for each one.

You can find the latest edition of “Medicare & You” online at http://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf.

Help is also available through the Medicare customer service center, at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY users call 1-877-486-2048). The call center is open 24 hours a day, including weekends.

Another helpful resource is the official Medicare website, at www.Medicare.gov.

The website has a wide variety of information about Medicare health and prescription drug plans in your area, including what they cost and what services they provide. Medicare also rates the plans based on its Five-Star Rating System.

You can look for doctors or other health care providers and suppliers who participate in Medicare, and see what Medicare covers, including preventive care services like cancer screenings and vaccinations.

At www.Medicare.gov, you also can:

* Get Medicare appeals information and forms;

* Get information about the quality of care provided by plans, nursing homes, hospitals, home health agencies, and dialysis facilities;

* Look up helpful websites and phone numbers.

 

Cate Kortzeborn is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Jul 20, 2017
Much of the dramatic decline of the yellow-billed cuckoo in California has been directly attributed to breeding habitat loss and degradation from lands being converted to agricultural and other urban uses.
Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017
The Newhall Ranch project will create nearly 74,000 permanent jobs within the region and an estimated 130,000 construction jobs over the decades it will take to build the project, and it will provide a variety of housing types from apartments and starter homes to places to raise a family, from affordable housing to executive housing.
Friday, Jul 14, 2017
Medicare covers a variety of heath care services that you can get in the comfort and privacy of your home. These include intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services, and occupational therapy.
Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017
In their attempt to usurp the Division of State Architect's role in the reopening of Acton School, the Acton-Agua Dulce school board has exposed itself to possible penalties being levied against the district, or civil lawsuits against individual board members.
Sunday, Jul 9, 2017
Python hunters work in pairs. One is the puller and one is the “hole guy.” The hole guy crawls into the hole to face the python head-on. When he’s bitten and the snake is holding on tight, the puller pulls out the hole guy, and the snake comes out with him.
Wednesday, Jul 5, 2017
As the temperatures go up this week, a great way to cool off is to head to one of the City’s six pools, says Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2000 - Historic Larinan house in Pico Canyon burns down [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, two children are still in critical condition after yesterday's rollover crash. Plus, deputies arrested an underage DUI suspect whose vehicle smashed into a traffic signal after a collision in Canyon Country. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, July 21, 2017
A second child has died and two other children are in critical condition after a rollover crash on the 14 freeway near Acton Thursday morning killed an infant, CHP officials said.
Second Child Dies, 2 Still Critical after Acton Crash
World-renowned artist John Moffitt will headline the ARTree's Speaker Series with a talk at The MAIN on Main Street in Old Town Newhall on Thursday, July 27 starting at 7 p.m.
July 27: John Moffitt Headlines ARTree Speaker Series
Registration is now open for the ARTree Community Arts Center's fall children's art sampler class, which begins September 22 at the center in Newhall.
July 25: Fall ARTree Children’s Art Class Registration Opens
The 21st annual "Heart of the West" fundraiser for the non-profit Carousel Ranch horse therapy program for children will take place at the ranch on Saturday, August 26 starting at 6 p.m.
August 26: ‘Heart of the West’ to Benefit Carousel Ranch
The California State Transportation Agency and the Department of Transportation today announced the fast tracking of “fix it first” construction work and increased road repairs across the state.
State Transportation Leaders Expedite Millions in SB 1 Road Repairs
Registration has begun for the fall 2017 semester at College of the Canyons, which offers more than 1,900 class sections in a wide range of academic subjects and career education disciplines.
COC Fall 2017 Registration Under Way
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has been denied bond pending the appeal of his conviction for obstructing a federal investigation into county jails.
Ex-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca Denied Bond Ahead of Conviction Appeal
The number of reported Valley Fever infections in Los Angeles County increased by 37 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, according to a news release from the county Department of Public Health.
Valley Fever Cases Up 37 Percent in L.A. County
A multi-vehicle collision in Canyon Country led deputies to arrest an underage DUI suspect who also crashed into a traffic signal around 5:30 a.m. Friday.
20-Year-Old Arrested on Suspicion of DUI After Canyon Country Crash
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe will guest at an author event at Barnes & Noble in Valencia on Monday, July 31, at 7 p.m.
July 31: Best-Selling Author Mary Alice Monroe at Barnes & Noble
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-San Fernando Valley) blasted SoCalGas for weak safety standards as the company resumes injections of natural gas into the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility adjacent to the Santa Clarita Valley.
Sherman Rips SoCalGas for Weak Safety Standards at Aliso Canyon
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have the best record in major league baseball, had their 11-game winning streak snapped by the Atlanta Braves 6-3 at Dodger Stadium Thursday night in the first game of a 10-game homestand.
Red-Hot Dodgers Drop First Contest in 10-Game Homestand
World-traveled rock-R&B-funk band Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps returns to headline the free Valencia Jazz & Blues concert on the street outside the Hyatt Regency Valencia tonight starting at 7 p.m.
July 21: Teresa James & Rhythm Tramps at Valencia Jazz & Blues
California voters would decide the future of legal sports betting in the Golden State under a constitutional amendment introduced Thursday by a state lawmaker.
California Lawmaker Backs Referendum on Legalizing Sports Betting
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station is urging SCV residents to be on the lookout for a suspect wanted in connection with a felony hit and run collision in Lancaster on Tuesday.
Wanted: Suspect in Felony Hit & Run
Mylz Jones and Roberto Ramos each went deep for the JetHawks, but the Lake Elsinore Storm hit three homers of their own and took the series opener 8-4 on Thursday night at The Hangar.
Jones, Ramos Homer in 8-4 Loss to Storm Thursday
California state officials have cleared the way for resumption at reduced capacity in the next few weeks of natural gas pumping into the underground Aliso Canyon facility
Aliso Canyon Gas Field to Reopen, But Fight Still On
Three children and one adult from Los Angeles were airlifted from the 14 freeway in Acton Thursday morning after a fatal solo-vehicle rollover crash.
Infant Killed, Four Injured in Early-Morning Acton Crash
Air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, according to an AQMD alert.
Updated: SCV Air Quality Unhealthy Friday
2009 - Castaic resident Gidget, the Taco Bell commercial Chihuahua, dies at 15 after major stroke [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a Los Angeles woman is one of four hurt in a fatal crash in Acton Thursday morning. Plus, several streets in the city will be impacted for road rehab through next Friday. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, July 20, 2017
The City of Santa Clarita is in need of volunteers for a pair of events taking place in August at the Aquatic Center, located at 20850 Centre Pointe Parkway. Space is still available for those wishing to assist at the Swim League Finals on August 5 and the LA84 Swim & Synchro Festival on August 12, 2017.
Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Aquatic Center Events
As Los Angeles County prepares for the procurement and manufacturing stage of its nationally-recognized Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP), Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan is focusing resources on election security.
County Prepares for Updated Voting System
Every summer, novice and veteran interpreters and interpreting students gather for one week to learn about professional development, and to participate in workshops that build their skills.
CSUN Student to Host Workshop for Interpreters
Residents in Santa Clarita can soon enroll in a number of specialized classes, recreational sports, youth programming and more for the fall season.
July 25: Start of Fall Seasons Online Registration
Castaic residents heard from county planners Wednesday at the Castaic Area Town Council meeting, with a focus on solutions for concerns about the Hillcrest Parkway landscape.
Castaic Residents Voice Concerns Over Hillcrest Parkway Maintenance
After being featured in the “KHTS Adopt a Pet” series last month, a then 10-week-old kitten named Faith has found her forever home. But before she can truly get her “happily ever after,” Faith needs surgery to correct a medical problem that is already causing damage to her eyes.
GoFundMe Page Started for Former ‘KHTS Adopt a Pet’ Kitten
From Aug. 5-9, this year's graduates from CalArts' Programs in Art, Art and Technology and Photography and Media present work in Clothing Optional at Night Gallery in Los Angeles, with an opening reception on Aug. 5.
Exhibit to Feature Works by Recent CalARTS’ Graduates
Join us at this month's breakfast for networking and an update by our State Senator Scott Wilk on the progress of water district consolidation and the impact his bill, SB 634, will have on the Santa Clarita Valley.
Aug. 9: Update on Water District Consolidation at Chamber Breakfast
California State University, Northridge and Southwestern Law School have joined forces to bring a clinic to the CSUN campus in fall 2017.
Legal Clinic For Undocumented Students Comes to CSUN This Fall
Sheriff’s Homicide detectives are investigating a dead body reported at Sierra Highway and Remsen street.
Possible Suicide in Newhall; Investigation Ongoing
Legislation was introduced Wednesday by Representative Steve Knight (CA-25) the Securely Expediting Clearances through Reporting Transparency (SECRET) Act, H.R. 3210, passed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Knight Bill on Security Clearances Passes House Committee
A decades-old effort to restore water and salmon to California’s second largest river is on the chopping block under a proposal by House Republicans to speed up dam projects and increase diversions to farmers.
GROW Act Moves to Senate