Entries by mgl

Get Medicare information in an accessible format

Just as there are many types of people with Medicare, there are many ways for you to get information about our program. Did you know you have the right to get Medicare information in an accessible format, like Braille, large print, data/audio files, relay services and TTY communications?
While our print publications and Medicare.gov website are always available, we can also send you upon request Medicare information for free in accessible formats. Don’t worry—if you ask us for information in an accessible format and it takes a while to fulfill your request, you’ll get extra time to take action.
If you want Medicare information in an accessible format, you can:
Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
Email us at altformatrequest@cms.hhs.gov.
Send us a fax at 1-844-530-3676.
Mail a letter to:Centers for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesOffices of Hearings and Inquiries (OHI)7500 Security Boulevard, Mail Stop S1-13-25Baltimore, MD 21244-1850Attn: Customer Accessibility Resource Staff 
For the best response, when you contact us, please give:
Your name
Phone number
Type of information you need (if you know it)
The mailing address where you want us to send the materials.
We may contact you for additional information.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), contact your plan to ask them to send you their Medicare information in an accessible format. If you’re enrolled in Medicaid, contact your State or local Medicaid office.
For more information about Medicare in accessible formats or for more help, visit Medicare.gov/about-us/accessibility-nondiscriminationnotice, or call 1-800-MEDICARE. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

Get a glaucoma test and make your vision top priority!

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More than 3 million people in the U.S. have glaucoma, and some have no idea they have it. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can cause permanent vision loss and blindness. If you get a glaucoma test and find treatment early, you can protect your eyes from serious vision loss.
January is glaucoma awareness month, and it’s the perfect time to check and see if you’re at high risk. You’re at high risk for glaucoma if one or more of these apply to you:
You have diabetes
You have a family history of glaucoma
You’re African American and 50 or older
You’re Hispanic and 65 or older
Medicare covers a glaucoma screening once every 12 months if you’re at high risk. Talk to your doctor or eye doctor for more information about scheduling a glaucoma test. To learn more, read about glaucoma, or watch our glaucoma awareness video.

Cervical cancer tests—early detection protects women

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All women are at risk for cervical cancer, but did you know it occurs most often in women over 30? Each year, more than 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest female cancers to detect, and it’s highly treatable when found early.
How to detect cervical cancer
Medicare covers Pap tests, and pelvic exams that can help find cervical and vaginal cancer early and improve recovery and survival rates. Medicare covers these 2 cervical cancer tests once every 24 months for all women. If you’re at high risk for cervical or vaginal cancer, or if you’re of child-bearing age and had an abnormal Pap test in the past 36 months, Medicare covers these cervical cancer tests once every 12 months. If you’re age 30–65 without Human Papillomavirus (HPV) symptoms, Medicare covers HPV tests (as part of a Pap test) tests once every 5 years.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, so now’s the perfect time to get screened. Visit our cervical & vaginal cancer screenings page to learn more about how to detect cervical cancer.

AARP Bulletin Details How Older Americans Can Help Defeat COVID

January/February Issue Offers Thorough Vaccine Guide, Plus the Most Proven Methods for Everyday Virus Protection
WASHINGTON—With permission granted in late December to start deploying two coronavirus vaccines, the arrival of 2021 should mark the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in America. But that will only happen if enough people take the vaccine, and Americans continue to take steps to prevent the virus’s spread. The new issue of the AARP Bulletin details a precise plan for older Americans for what to do to help successfully end the war against the coronavirus.
In this month’s cover story, AARP Bulletin spoke to medical experts around the country to answer important questions about vaccines and point out key facts we all need, such as:
Why you can still be infectious after getting the vaccine
Which people with allergies are safe to get shots
When you might get access to a vaccine, and what to do when that time comes
In addition, the cover story gives much needed updates on daily coronavirus protection, as many Americans continue to act based on assumptions from last spring that have since been proven flawed. Do you really need to wash food packages from the store? Is a homemade mask too risky? Is buying an air filtration unit money wasted or well spent? Should you wear latex gloves when in public? The answers might surprise you.
COVID-19 and Nursing Homes Part Three: AARP’s highly read and praised investigation into America’s nursing homes continues this issue, with a multi-story report on how the industry must change to best serve America’s aging population and also become more financially sustainable. The report includes a 10-point plan for change; case studies of two nursing homes that responded powerfully and successfully to the pandemic; a look at how one state is pioneering elder care and its financing; an expert discussion on how to remedy racial imbalances in the industry; and a thorough detailing of AARP’s agenda for the nursing home industry in 2021 and beyond.
Other stories in AARP Bulletin include:
Fraud Watch
Selling Online? Be Careful of Scams: As many people are turning to the virtual marketplace to latch onto seemingly good deals or quick cash, many individuals are being swindled out of their money. This month, AARP’s Fraud Watch Network team outlines stories of how people have found themselves on the wrong end of a bad deal and offers advice on how to avoid common e-commerce scams.
Your Money
Amazon Do’s and Don’ts: Over 140 million Americans are members of Amazon Prime – mostly to save money – and yet many don’t know many of the best ways to save money at the website. “Live Well for Less” columnist Lisa Lee Freeman details hidden marketplaces, pricing secrets, little-known discount programs, and other tools to save money at America’s largest online retailer.
Age Discrimination and the Economic Downturn: Are employers using COVID-19 as an excuse to let go of older workers? As job security seems to be hitting record lows for both older and younger Americans, statistics show that older workers are being disproportionately let go. Experts weigh in on this sinister new default that is costing the jobs of many older Americans. Find out what signs to look for to prevent yourself from being a victim of possible age discrimination in this month’s issue.
Your Life
Doing Well by Doing Good: With a 50-year career emphasizing social good, former AARP CEO Bill Novelli has acquired a unique skill set in “doing well by doing good.” Novelli’s newest book, Good Business, argues that businesses can thrive by following a strong moral compass. In an interview with the Bulletin, Novelli discusses how good values can change business, and in turn, change the world.
# # #
About AARPAARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

For further information: Paola Groom, AARP, 202-434-2555, pgroom@aarp.org; Daniel Alarcon, AARP, 202-538-0105, dalarcon@aarp.org

Get ready to use your new coverage for the new year

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The New Year can bring many changes, and is a great time to choose to put your health first. Start your New Year by learning about your new Medicare coverage and costs, and staying healthy by using preventive services.
If you changed Medicare health or drug plans for 2021, your new coverage begins January 1. Check out your basic costs for Medicare-covered tests, items, and services to see if they’ve changed. For more personalized and cost specific information, visit your Medicare account or create one.
Are you trying to take better care of yourself this New Year? Medicare can help. Medicare covers many preventive services, including your yearly “Wellness” visit and screenings for breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Most of these services are provided at no cost to you. Preventive services are key to maintaining your wellbeing; they keep you from getting sick and help find health problems early. Check out our complete list of Medicare-covered preventive services and watch our preventive benefits video to learn more. Call your doctor to discuss what preventive services you may need, and the best time to get them.
Using preventive services to stay healthy and understanding how your coverage works is a great way to kick off your new year. Being confident in your plan choice is also very important. If you think you chose the wrong plan because of inaccurate or misleading information, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and explain your situation. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. Our call center representatives will find the best ways to help you throughout the year.
Here’s to a healthy and happy 2021!

Make your next Medicare premium payment online

Spend less time paying your bills—pay your Medicare Part B premium online.
If you get this bill from Medicare for your premiums, you may be able to pay it online with a credit or debit card.
Making your Medicare premium payment online is:
Secure—your information is protected
Quick—your payments process in about 5 business days (faster than regular mail)
Free—we never charge a fee to make a Medicare premium payment
Pay your premium online in 3 easy steps:
Log in to your secure Medicare account (or create one if you don’t have an account yet).
Select “Pay my premium.”
Enter the amount you want to pay. Then, we’ll send you to the U.S. Treasury’s secure Pay.gov site to complete your payment.
Using your secure Medicare account gives you information about your Medicare premium bill and Medicare premium payment history. You’ll also get a confirmation number when you make your online Medicare premium payment—that’s peace of mind.
Sign up for Medicare Easy Pay through your online Medicare account
Instead of making one-time payments, you can sign up for Medicare Easy Pay to set up recurring premium payments that Medicare will automatically deduct from your checking or savings account each month.
Select “My Premiums” from the top menu, and then “Sign up” to fill out a short online form. It can take up to 6-8 weeks before your automatic deductions start. Once Medicare Easy Pay starts, you’ll see your automatic payments in your online payment history, and we’ll mail you monthly statements instead of a bill from Medicare.
With the ease of Medicare Easy Pay, you’ll have one less thing to remember.
See all the ways to pay your Medicare premiums online.

There’s now an easier way to find medical equipment & supplies

When you or a loved one needs medical equipment like a wheelchair, hospital bed, or walker, it may be hard to know where to start, and what suppliers carry the equipment you need. That’s why we’ve launched an improved supplier directory to help you more easily search for suppliers of Medicare-covered equipment and supplies.
Medicare’s improved supplier directory includes new features and functionality to help you:
Customize your search with better search capabilities, and compare up to 3 suppliers at a time
Easily find medical equipment and supplies using plain language descriptions  
Find suppliers in your area that carry the products you need using an interactive map
The improved directory also includes 2 new product categories – off-the-shelf back and knee braces – that will be introduced when the 2021 Competitive Bidding Program starts on January 1, 2021.
Take a look at the new supplier directory. Have ideas to help us make it even better? Take our survey on Medicare.gov to give us your feedback.
Modernizing the way you find and compare information about health care providers and services builds on previous eMedicare initiative efforts. To stay up-to-date on eMedicare improvements and other important news from Medicare, sign up for our email list and follow us on Facebook.

Don’t miss your flu shot

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December 6–12 is National Influenza Vaccination Week. It’s a good reminder to roll up your sleeve and get your yearly Medicare-covered flu shot. Each year, thousands of people are hospitalized from flu-related illness. When more people get the flu shot, more people are protected.
Flu prevention tips
Make sure you take these simple steps to help stop the spread of viruses, like the flu:
Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth.
Cover your coughs and sneezes.
Wash your hands with soap and water often.
Avoid close contact with sick people.
Stay home when you’re sick.
Who should get a flu shot
People with Medicare, young children, and pregnant women are at high risk of having serious health complications from the flu. When you get your flu shot, you reduce the risk of getting sick, being hospitalized, or dying from the flu.
Getting your flu shot also helps prevent you from spreading the flu to others. You still have time to fight the flu. The flu shot is more important than ever this year, so get yours today.

Act fast! Review your Medicare plan by December 7.

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Medicare Open Enrollment is almost over. If you’re thinking about changing your Medicare plan, you have until December 7 to take these actions:
Change how you get your Medicare coverage—Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan
Switch Medicare Advantage Plans (with or without drug coverage)
Join, switch, or drop a Medicare drug plan
Even if you’re happy with your current health coverage, it’s important to know your Medicare coverage options and compare other health and drug plans during Open Enrollment. You may find Medicare coverage that better meets your needs for the upcoming year.
Compare Medicare health & drug plans for 2021
Not all Medicare coverage options offer the same benefits, and costs can change each year. There may be other health and prescription drug plans available that better meet your needs for 2021. If you take insulin, this Open Enrollment you may be able to get a Medicare drug plan that offers broad access to many types of insulin for no more than $35 for a 30-day supply.
Use Medicare Plan Finder to compare Medicare coverage options and find 2021 health and drug plans now.
Change your Medicare plan to best meet your needs
Think about your health care needs for the year ahead. If you like your current health care coverage and it’s still available and works for you in 2021, you don’t need to take any action. But, if you want to change your Medicare plan, act by December 7.
Need help with your Medicare choices? Here’s a list of helpful contacts.