AARP Bulletin Reveals How to Get the Very Best Customer Service

September Issue Offers a Handbook On How To Get Heard and Better Served by Retailers, Government Agencies and Other Bureaucracies

WASHINGTONIt sometimes seems retailers, service providers and other big bureaucracies will do anything they can to avoid interacting with you in person to resolve a complaint or conflict. But there are ways to use that to your advantage. In the new issue of AARP Bulletin, top professionals in customer care explain exactly what to do to get the good treatment and fair outcome you want and deserve, reveal whether loyalty to a company provides any tangible benefits, and detail when relying on human interaction might actually NOT be to your benefit.

Good customer care is an issue of great importance to older Americans, who often are stereotyped by younger customer-service representatives and so get lesser care than they should. Yet with age, interactions with insurance companies, government agencies like Social Security, and large financial institutions greatly increase. With our three-step guide to top-grade care, older Americans can learn effective ways to get their concerns addressed.

Using advice from consumer advocates, behavioral economists and customer service researchers, AARP Bulletin writers discuss the techniques that will help you get to the front of the queue. We also detail ways to avoid having to deal with customer service in the first place. And look for our Better Care Guides, containing information on how to make the most out of your high-stakes interactions with specific organizations like health insurance companies, Social Security, the IRS and the DMV.

In this month’s cover story, learn how to:

  • Reach an actual client representative as quickly as possible,
  • Create a useful log of your interactions,
  • Advocate for yourself in stressful customer service situations,
  • And much more.

PLUS:

Your Money

What a Will Won’t Do: Did you know a will can be overruled by other paperwork? In fact, most financial accounts—from retirement savings to everyday savings accounts—usually fall out of the scope of a will, leaving your loved ones at risk for loss if they aren’t named as the beneficiaries. In this month’s Bulletin, we offer tips on how you could  protect them (and yourself) as you plan.

Your Health

Ahhh, Relief: How to Reduce Muscle Aches: Feeling achy from a stiff office chair, bad night’s sleep or a little too much pickleball? Using household items such as tennis balls, foam rollers and socks, we show you easy ways to roll away aches, pains, and muscle tension, without a trip to the spa or masseur. Plus, a guide to the latest self-massage gear, including super-popular massage guns.

Fraud Watch

Tricky Texts: Getting texts or emails that seem suspicious? Phone-oriented scams are on the rise, but many fraudulent texts and emails leave a trail of clues that they aren’t for real. We break down what to look for and spot in a message before you hit ‘reply’ with any personal information.

Your AARP

Staying Connected: AARP’s presence on social media is both wide and deep. Find out about our highly successful ongoing feeds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, and how we create a unique experience in each channel.

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

Prevention is key—protect yourself with vaccines

More than 79% of people 65 and over are fully vaccinated for COVID-19—but are you defending yourself from other life-threatening illnesses, like pneumonia and the flu? Getting vaccinated is a simple, safe, and effective way to protect yourself.

According to the CDC, “vaccines greatly reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.” They strengthen your immune system and train it to create antibodies, like it does when it’s exposed to a disease.

Medicare covers a variety of vaccinations, including:

  • COVID-19 vaccine—helps protect against Coronavirus disease 2019
  • Flu shot—helps prevent the influenza virus
  • Hepatitis B shots—helps protects against the Hepatitis B Virus
  • Pneumococcal shots —helps protect against pneumococcal disease and its potentially serious complications, including infections like pneumonia and meningitis
  • Shingles shot—helps protect against reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes varicella (chickenpox)
  • Tdap shots—helps protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (“whooping cough”)

Also, you no longer need to wait 14 days between different vaccines. According to the CDC, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including flu and shingles, at the same visit.

Adults need to keep their vaccinations up to date because immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off over time. Talk to your doctor to help you decide which vaccines are right for you.

Medicare Fitness

Do Medicare Plans Cover Fitness?

Compare Medicare Plans

How can I get help with transportation?

How can I get help with transportation? Does Medicare cover transportation to my medical appointments?

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) generally does not cover transportation to get routine health care. It does cover emergency transportation in an ambulance.

However, Medicare Advantage plans may cover transportation for your medical needs. One benefit that is covered under some plans is transportation to and from doctor’s visits.

AARP The Magazine August/September Issue: Top Tips to Enhance Your Forever Home, Ditch the 7 Worst Habits for Your Brain, PLUS Advice to Avoid Running Out of Cash for the Long Run

AARP The Magazine August/September Issue: Top Tips to Enhance Your Forever Home, Ditch the 7 Worst Habits for Your Brain, PLUS Advice to Avoid Running Out of Cash for the Long Run

Also: An Oral History of 9/11; surprising revelations from cover star Jamie Lee Curtis; and an Inside Look at America’s Top Phone Fraud

WASHINGTON—In a jam-packed August/September issue of AARP The Magazine (ATM), cover star Jamie Lee Curtis offers special lessons from the “Jamie University”; first responders share their stories for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks; top home improvement pros offer suggestions on how to make your house a forever home; and this month’s Fraud Watch warns of a new, sinister robocall scam on the rise. Plus, two newsworthy health reports: the daily habits most hurting your brain, and an investigation into the steep climb in autoimmune diseases in America.

In this issue of AARP The Magazine:

Cover Story: Jamie Lee Curtis
Emerging from the pandemic with excitement, enthusiasm and a revised view of the rest of her life, actress, author and advocate Jamie Lee Curtis reveals in AARP The Magazine’s cover story how she is making up for lost time. The former “scream queen” and two-time Golden Globe winner opens up about finding creative outlets, embracing her age, and better appreciating each moment in her life. Curtis also shares an inside look into her longtime marriage with her “one and only” Christopher Guest.

Fraud Watch: Meet ‘Becky from Medicare’

A new, fraudulent robocall is targeting older Americans across the country. The scammer often claims to be named “Becky,” a fake Medicare representative who threatens to use your information in insidious ways. In this month’s Fraud Watch, we offer suggestions on how to stop this cold caller in its tracks.

Marlee Matlin

Oscar-winning actress, author and deaf activist Marlee Matlin discusses why you should laugh at yourself, never settle, be open to change and more. She shares a rare look into her sobriety journey and explains how motherhood changed her priorities. 

Health Report: 7 Worst Habits For Your Brain

Did you know that you can take proactive steps to support long-term cognition? AARP examines the worst habits for your brain health – from having a negative mindset to drinking sugary beverages to maintaining an unhealthy sleep routine – and offers tips on how to reverse or reduce the damage.

Voices of 9/11

On the 20th anniversary of the nation’s most devastating terrorist attack, AARP The Magazine looks back with survivors to  share devastating and moving personal anecdotes from the day. Survivors offer insight into how they are coping 20 years later and moving forward.

When Your Body Attacks Itself: The Rising Toll of Autoimmune Disease

Four patients find themselves under attack by their immune systems, resulting in different symptoms and different diagnosies. AARP The Magazine investigates the rise of autoimmune diseases and offers suggestions on locating the best physician for you and keeping autoimmune disease in check.

How to Make Your Money Last … and Last

The No. 1 mistake most people make in retirement planning? Significantly underestimating how long they will live, studies show. Money experts show their best methods to make sure that you’ll have plenty of resources, even if you live far beyond your expectations.

7 DIY Ideas for your Forever Home

Home improvement stars Ty Pennington, Tom Silva, Nikki Boyd, Tamara Day, Leanne and Steve Ford, Liz Marie Galvan and Ahmed Hassan share their favorite DIY projects for your forever home. Learn how to use color to change your entry way, upgrade a bathroom for a little under $700, and much more can be found in this month’s issue.

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

Tips for Choosing Prescription Drug Plans

6 Tips for Choosing Medicare Drug Coverage According to medicare.gov

Be proactive with your preventive care

Summer means warmer weather, trips to the pool, and fun in the sun. Make sure you stay healthy enough to enjoy it all by being proactive with your health. Take advantage of the many preventive services that Medicare offers at no cost to you, like screenings, shots or vaccines, and yearly “Wellness” visits. And if you haven’t already, make sure to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Preventive services are important because they can help keep you from getting sick and find health problems early.

If you’ve had Part B for more than 12 months, you can get a yearly “Wellness” visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan based on your current health and risk factors. This isn’t a physical exam, and Medicare covers it once every 12 months. 

Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about which preventive services you might need to help you stay healthy. Check out our complete list of Medicare-covered preventive services, and watch our video.

Get help with Medicare costs


If you have Medicare and you’re facing challenges paying for health care, you may qualify for Medicare programs that can help you save money on drug and medical costs.

Medicaid

If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for Medicaid—a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs. Medicaid also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare, like nursing home care and personal care services. Each state has different rules about eligibility and applying for Medicaid. Contact your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) Office to see if you qualify, learn how to apply, and how Medicare works with Medicaid.

Medicare Savings Programs

Even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, one of these 4 Medicare Savings Programs may be able to help you pay your premiums and other Medicare costs:

Contact your state Medicaid program to see if you’re eligible for savings through one of these programs.

Extra Help

If you qualify for Medicaid or one of the Medicare Savings Programs above, you’ll also get Extra Help paying for your prescription drugs automatically. Extra Help is a program that helps people with limited income and resources pay Medicare prescription drug costs, like premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance. If you don’t automatically qualify for Extra Help, you can apply online at socialsecurity.gov.

Not eligible for any of these programs?

Even if you don’t qualify to get help with Medicare, choosing the right health and drug coverage can help you save money. Medicare’s Open Enrollment (October 15–December 7) is a great time to make any necessary changes. Use our Medicare Plan Finder to compare Medicare coverage options and find health and prescription drug plans that meet your unique needs.

Actress, Author and Advocate Jamie Lee Curtis Is Radiating with Energy – and Making Up for Lost Time – in The August/September Issue of AARP The Magazine

Actress, Author and Advocate Jamie Lee Curtis Is Radiating with Energy – and Making Up for Lost Time – in The August/September Issue of AARP The Magazine

Bursting with Ideas and Hungry to Learn and Try New Things, the 62-year-old Actress is Again Hitting A Creative Stride

LOS ANGELESCalifornia native Jamie Lee Curtis has spent more of her life in front of the camera than not, with several prestigious accolades including two Golden Globes, a BAFTA, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and more. From her early years as the “scream queen” of several hit horror movies, Curtis’s career has grown to include several iconic film and television roles, inspiring philanthropic initiatives and multiple children’s books.

Although the pandemic put a pause on many of her plans in 2020, she found herself launching a myriad of projects and pursuing new interests from her home, including a hugely popular podcast series. Now, she is emerging from the pandemic with excitement, enthusiasm and a revised view of the rest of her life. From her coastal Southern California residence, Curtis sits down with AARP The Magazine to discuss her thoughts on how to make up for lost time, how to enjoy the precious moments in life, why she believes human interaction is so powerful, and much more in an exclusive interview.

The following are excerpts from ATM’s August/September 2021 cover story featuring Jamie Lee Curtis. The issue is available in homes starting in August and online now at www.aarp.org/magazine/.

On finding creativity in the midst of the pandemic:

“I wake up every day at 4 a.m. and have so much on my mind,” she explains. “I’m just so crazy excited and creative right now. And I don’t want to squander any of it.”

On embracing your age and appreciating every moment:

“Look at what age your parents died, look at what age you are. It’s not long. Laugh about it a little. And then shut up and do something! So that’s where I’m at in my life right now.”

On her shedding the negative energy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

“I am somebody who sheds every day,” she says. “Let’s get rid of that, I don’t need that.”

On being prepared for the events that you can’t predict:

“I’m your American Red Cross participant, earthquake-prepared, well-stocked person,” she admits.

On living in the moment:

“Why aren’t we wearing those Prada pants to lunch with a friend,” she asks, “rather than saying, ‘Well, I only have those for a fancy occasion’? I now feel a freedom in living authentically in the moment and being open to whatever shows up.”

On her longtime marriage with her “one and only,” Christopher Guest:

“I feel safe when I drive up and see that [he is] home.” She elaborates, “That’s the long marriage. It’s the safety of knowing his car is in the garage, that I’m not alone.”

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

Don’t let health or transportation issues keep you from getting your COVID-19 vaccine

If you have Medicare and face challenges getting to a COVID-19 vaccine location, Medicare will pay a doctor or other care provider to give the vaccine to you in your home, at no cost to you.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is more important than ever. Do you know about the Delta variant of COVID-19 now spreading in the U.S.? It can spread easier and may be more severe than the original coronavirus. The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against this variant, so once you’re vaccinated you’re well protected.

Don’t wait—contact your regular doctor or health care provider today and ask if they’re able to give you a COVID-19 vaccine in your home. If they can’t, they might be able to refer you to someone who can. If you get vaccinated at home, you may need to give the provider your Medicare Number for billing, but there’s still no cost to you. (Remember: don’t share your Medicare Number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you unless you’ve given them permission.)

Visit Vaccines.gov to find COVID-19 vaccine providers near you. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for vaccine contacts in your state. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.