Prevent Medicare fraud — become an informed Medicare consumer

Each day, you make important choices about your finances, health, privacy, and more. During National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 1–7, 2020, non-profit organizations and government agencies can help you protect yourself and prevent fraud by taking advantage of your rights and making better, more informed choices.

Here are some things you can do to prevent Medicare fraud and become an informed Medicare consumer:

  • Know your rights: As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections to help protect you and make sure you get the health care services the law says you can get.
  • Protect your identity: Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Keep information like your Social Security Number, bank account numbers, and Medicare Number safe. Get more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
  • Help fight Medicare fraud: Medicare fraud takes money from the Medicare program each year, which means higher health care costs for you. Learn how to report Medicare fraud.
  • Join the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP): The SMP educates and empowers people with Medicare to take an active role in detecting and preventing health care fraud and abuse.
  • Make informed Medicare choices: Each year during the fall Open Enrollment Period (October 15–December 7), review your plan to make sure it will meet your needs for the next year. If you’re not satisfied with your current plan, you can switch during the Open Enrollment Period with the Medicare Plan Finder.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s NCPW page to learn more about the campaign, see which agencies and organizations are able to help you, and to find out if there are any activities happening in your area.

AARP Bulletin: Lessons Learned a Year into the Pandemic

Dozens of Top Experts Share Lessons of the Past Year and How They Can Lead to Positive Change for Older Americans in the March Issue

WASHINGTONFor a year, our country has been embroiled in not one but three crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic meltdown and one of the most fraught political transitions in our history. But as signs grow that we are moving past the worst of all three, it’s the perfect time to assess what we’ve learned since March 2020 and how to best move forward.

In this month’s cover story, AARP Bulletin spoke to doctors, economists, business leaders, policy makers, and authors around the country about lessons learned and paths forward. Among their observations:

  • Technology came through for us all, and had a “tipping point” moment that accelerated our preference and reliance for doing things by phone or computer
  • The crucial importance of savings was revealed to all, potentially leading to new, better tools and programs to help all of us put more cash away
  • The pandemic unleashed medical research, leading not just to several vaccines in less than a year but learnings on how to attack other health issues moving forward
  • Living healthy and avoiding chronic conditions has been proven to matter far more to your health risks than your age. Are we at the beginning of a healthy living revolution?

In addition, the cover story explores more personal learnings about our future. How can we better sustain the bonds of family, which proved so crucial this year? How can we make the most of our own backyard and nature around us? How is the shift in the work landscape beneficial to the fifty-plus crowd? You may be surprised.

PLUS:

Special Report: President Biden’s Agenda for Older Americans: President Biden launched his presidency with a laser focus on getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control and the economy reviving. But a review of his policy papers, campaign commitments and official website shows a deep, ambitious agenda for many other issues critical to older Americans. AARP Bulletin examines how the president has said he will tackle Social Security, Medicare and other key issues once the current priorities are addressed.

Other stories in AARP Bulletin include:

Fraud Watch

  • Feds Say Crooks Prefer Gift Cards: Crooks’ preference? Gift cards. According to the Federal Trade Commission, theft using gift cards has soared in recent years. “Once the victim reads the card number and PIN off the back, funds are drained without a trace,” says Amy Nofziger of the Fraud Watch Network. This month, learn all about this scam and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
  • Delete That Text! Scammers Find New Way to Scare You: Now more than ever, fraudsters are using text messages to lure you in and steal your money and information. The Bulletin offers suggestions on what to look for when you receive a text from an unknown sender and what questions you should ask yourself before hitting ‘send.’

In the News

  • Safer Taxes: New Protection for Online Filers: Looking to protect your tax filing from identity theft? The IRS is now offering the option of creating a six-digit identification number. We break down everything you need to know.

Your Life

  • Clever Ways to Swap Out the Sugar: If you’re looking for motivation to kick start your 2021 health goals, here it is. A new report finds that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects an estimated 80 million to 100 million American adults and is steadily on the rise. We offer suggestions on how to reduce your risk and easy ways to slash your sugar intake.
  • Your Safe Driving Check Up: On average, more than 20 Americans 65 or older were killed in traffic accidents each day during 2018, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This month, AARP offers a unique seven-point assessment to see how your driving skills rate. The Bulletin’s Safe Driving Check Up provides a way to have an honest check-in, assessing your vision, flexibility and more.
  • PC Buying Tips: What’s Changed, How to Choose: One of the lessons of the pandemic is how vital a computer is for everyday tasks. But buying one today is far different than just a few years ago. The Bulletin provides some factors to consider if you’re looking to purchase a new computer.

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About AARP
AARP 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.

Don’t wait: Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment ends March 31

Did you know that if you’re unhappy with your Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C), you have options? Each year, there’s a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 – March 31. During this time, if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan and want to change your health plan, you can do one of these:

If you switch Medicare Advantage Plans or go back to Original Medicare with or without a Medicare drug plan, your new coverage will start the first day of the month after your new plan gets your request for coverage. Keep in mind, if you go back to Original Medicare now, you may not be able to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy.

The Medicare Plan Finder can help you find, compare, and enroll in a new Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare drug plan in your area. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for help. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period isn’t for people who already have Original Medicare.

It’s important to understand and be confident in your Medicare coverage choices. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan and want to change your plan, check out your options today. Remember, this Medicare Advantage Plan Open Enrollment Period ends March 31.

How to file an appeal if your Medicare Advantage Plan doesn’t cover an item or service

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you know it covers a lot of items and services, like prescription drugs, diabetic test supplies, cardiovascular screenings, and hospital visits. But, what should you do if your plan won’t cost an item or service you need?

You have the right to ask your Medicare Advantage Plan to provide or pay for items or services you think should be covered, provided, or continued. To resolve these differences with your plan, learn how to file an appeal.

Here are 4 tips to help you get started:

  1. Get help: If you want help filing an appeal, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or appoint a representative. Your representative could be a family member, friend, advocate, attorney, doctor, or someone else who will act on your behalf.
  2. Gather information: Ask your doctor, other health care providers, or supplier for any information that may help your case.
  3. Keep copies: Be sure to keep a copy of everything you send to your plan as part of your appeal.
  4. Start the process: Follow the directions in your plan’s initial denial notice and plan materials. You have 60 days from the date of the coverage determination. If you miss the deadline, you must provide a reason for filing late. See what information to include in your written request.

Once you start the appeals process, you can disagree with the decision made at any level of the process and can generally go to next level. Learn more about appeals in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Medicare Part B enrollment: There's still time to sign up!

Most people get Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) when they turn 65. If you didn’t sign up for Part B then, now’s the time to decide if you want to enroll.

During Medicare’s General Enrollment Period (January 1March 31), you can enroll in Part B and your coverage will start July 1.

Deciding to enroll in Part B is an important decision. It depends on the type of coverage you have now. It’s also important to think about the Part B late enrollment penalty—this lifetime penalty gets added to your monthly Part B premium, and it goes up the longer you wait to sign up. Find out if you should get Part B based on your situation.

If you only have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance), adding Part B can help you get the most out of your Medicare coverage. Part B helps cover:

  • Services from doctors and other health care providers
  • Outpatient care
  • Durable medical equipment (like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and other equipment)
  • Many preventive services (like screenings, shots or vaccines, and yearly “Wellness” visits)

Find out what else Part B covers.

And, if you have Part B, you have more options to get additional coverage, like prescription drugs, vision, hearing, dental, and more.

Signing up for Part B is easy—apply by March 31

There are 3 ways you can sign up:

  1. Fill out a short form, and send it to your local Social Security office.
  2. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.
  3. Contact your local Social Security office.

If you get benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, contact your local RRB office to sign up for Part B.

Get the most out of your Medicare coverage—sign up for Part B now!

New Rule for Breakthrough Medical Devices

CMS releases new rule in regards to “breakthrough” medical devices

Medicare Crossword Puzzle

Free Medicare Crossword Puzzle and Free Medicare Review. Call now 1-855-800-5265.

Learn how to become an organ donor & save lives

Each day, 20 people die while waiting for an organ transplant. With National Donor Day around the corner, keep in mind that just one person can save up to 8 lives through organ and tissue donation.

Over 80% of people on the transplant list need a kidney transplant, usually due to permanent kidney failure or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Medicare covers kidney transplants for both the person getting the transplant and the donor. If you’re getting the transplant, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for doctor services. You pay nothing if you’re the living donor.

There are nearly 120,000 patients waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and many more who need cornea, tissue, bone marrow, blood, and platelet donations. As a living organ donor, you can donate one kidney, one lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestines.

Celebrate National Donor Day on February 14 by giving the gift of life. Sign up to become an organ donor today.

AARP The Magazine Announces Nominees for the Annual Movies for Grownups® Awards

WASHINGTONAARP The Magazine has announced the nominees for the upcoming Movies for Grownups® Awards, with Minari, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and The United States vs. Billie Holiday contending for the Best Picture/Best Movie for Grownups category. For two decades, AARP’s Movies for Grownups program has championed movies for grownups, by grownups, by advocating for the 50-plus audience, fighting industry ageism and encouraging films that resonate with older viewers. AARP’s Movies for Grownups continues its commitment to celebrate quality content by expanding to honor standout TV programs in new categories.

“Each year at Movies for Grownups, we spotlight films that feature today’s crucial issues and top grownup talents. In this pandemic year, when movies loomed larger than ever in our lives, we are excited to have such a bumper crop of masterworks — and to recognize achievements on TV for the very first time,” said Tim Appelo, AARP film and TV critic.

Hoda Kotb, NBC News’ “TODAY” co-anchor and co-host of “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna,” will host the Awards ceremony broadcast by Great Performances on Sunday, March 28 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/moviesforgrownups and the PBS Video app. The MFG Awards winners will be announced on March 4 at www.aarp.org/moviesforgrownups.

In the Best Actress category, nominations go to Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit), Robin Wright (Land), Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), and Frances McDormand (Nomadland). In the Best Actor category, Ralph Fiennes (The Dig), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank) and Tom Hanks (News of the World).

The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Candice Bergen (Let Them All Talk), Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari), and Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman). In the Best Supporting Actor category, Clarke Peters (Da 5 Bloods), Demián Bichir (Land), Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Paul Raci (Sound of Metal), and Mark Rylance (The Trial of the Chicago 7).

2020 Movies for Grownups® nominees for Best Director are Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), and Lee Daniels (The United States vs. Billie Holiday).

In the inaugural year, Movies for Grownups® Awards has added categories in Television/Streaming, the nominees for Best Series are Perry Mason, Succession, Ted Lasso, The Crown, and This Is Us.

In the Best TV Movie/Limited Series category, nominations go to Mrs. America, Small Axe, The Queen’s Gambit, Unorthodox, and Watchmen.

The Television/Streaming nominees for Best Actress are Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show), Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America), Regina King (Watchmen), Laura Linney (Ozark) and Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek). In the Best Actor category, Jason Bateman (Ozark), Ted Danson (The Good Place), Hugh Grant (The Undoing), Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird) and Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much is True).

George Clooney will receive the esteemed Movies for Grownups® Career Achievement Award. He joins a prestigious list of previous AARP Movies for Grownups Career Achievement honorees, including Annette Bening, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Shirley MacLaine, Helen Mirren, Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, and Sharon Stone.

The complete list of the Movies for Grownups® Awards Nominees:

  • Best Picture/Best Movie for Grownups: Minari, Nomadland, One Night in Miami, The Trial of the Chicago 7, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
  • Best Actress: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit), Robin Wright (Land)
  • Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes (The Dig), Tom Hanks (News of the World), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Gary Oldman (Mank)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Candice Bergen (Let Them All Talk), Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman), Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Demián Bichir (Land), Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Clarke Peters (Da 5 Bloods), Paul Raci (Sound of Metal), Mark Rylance (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
  • Best Director: Lee Daniels (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
  • Best Ensemble: Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Best Intergenerational: Hillbilly Elegy, Minari, On the Rocks, The Father, The Life Ahead
  • Best Buddy Picture:  Bad Boys for Life, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Da 5 Bloods, Let Them All Talk, Standing Up, Falling Down
  • Best Screenwriter: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods); Paul Greengrass, Luke Davies (News of the World), Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami), Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
  • Best Time Capsule: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, One Night in Miami, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Best Grownup Love Story: Emma., Ordinary Love, Supernova, Wild Mountain Thyme, Working Man
  • Best Documentary: A Secret Love, Crip Camp, Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy, Dick Johnson Is Dead, Sky Blossom: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Another Round (Denmark), Bacurau (Brazil), Collective (Romania), The Life Ahead (Italy), The Weasels’ Tale (Argentina)
  • Best Series: Perry Mason, Succession, Ted Lasso, The Crown, This Is Us
  • Best TV Movie/Limited Series: Mrs. America, Small Axe, The Queen’s Gambit, Unorthodox, Watchmen
  • Best Actress (TV/Streaming): Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show), Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America), Regina King (Watchmen), Laura Linney (Ozark), Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)
  • Best Actor (TV/Streaming): Jason Bateman (Ozark), Ted Danson (The Good Place), Hugh Grant (The Undoing), Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird), Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True)

About AARP

AARP 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, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.

About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN, WLIW21, WLIW-FM and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey and its news division, NJ SPOTLIGHT NEWS. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multiplatform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere. 

For further information: Paola Groom, AARP Movies for Grownups®, pgroom@aarp.org; Marian Koltai-Levine, Rogers & Cowan, marian.koltai@rogersandcowanpmk.com; Elizabeth Boone, WNET, booneb@wnet.org