Saturday, November 1, 2014

From the Front...

by Rep Steve Womack, AR-03: Did you know that it’s Medicare Open Enrollment season? That means now through December 7, all Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to review and change their Medicare health and Part D prescription drug plans!

If a beneficiary is satisfied with his or her current coverage, it’s important to know that no action is required. However, I encourage all Medicare enrollees to get as much information as possible and review their options to ensure their current plan is the best available to best meet their needs.

>You can do this by visiting www.medicare.gov. On the site, you will be able to find out more information, review and compare coverage options, check current enrollment, and apply for a plan online. These services are also available via telephone; just call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to speak directly to a Medicare expert.

I understand that it is often difficult for some seniors to decide which plan is the best for them and their individual health needs – those Arkansans can receive free personalized health insurance counseling through the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). SHIIP advisors will be able to provide one-on-one counseling, education, and information to Medicare beneficiaries of all ages. They can also assist with applications for Medicare subsidy programs, such as the Medicare Savings Programs or Extra Help. Find out more by visiting insurance.arkansas.gov/shiip.htm or by calling 1-800-224-6330.

As with many government programs and agencies, working through red tape can be a difficult and frustrating process; that’s where my office comes in! One of the most important things I do as a U.S. Representative is help people with federal problems. Although I cannot override decisions made by a federal agency, I can often intervene on a person's behalf to answer questions, find solutions, or just make the process a little smoother. In the event that you or a loved one needs my help with a Medicare issue, please fill out my privacy authorization form, print it off, and send it to my office via fax or by mail. If you have any questions, feel free to call my office at 479-464-0446.

Over 550,000 Arkansans rely on the Medicare program to pay for their doctor and hospital visits and prescription drugs. However, each beneficiary has unique needs. Therefore, I hope our seniors will use these resources during open enrollment to make sure the program is working for them and meeting their needs the best it can.

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