WELCOME TO MEDICARE PROGRAM
Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Beneficiaries
The open enrollment period for Medicare Prescription Drug Plans will be from October 15, 2018 through December 7, 2018. This open enrollment period is for those wanting to switch plans or for those over age 65 or disabled beneficiaries who have never been enrolled into a plan. Plans, premiums, co-pays, drug costs and deductibles change every year. If you have had changes in medications during the past year, or take several medications, you may want to do a comparison of plans to see if there is a 2019 plan that is better for you. If the comparison shows your current plan is still the best one for you, or if you are satisfied with your current plan, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SWITCH. MASS staff has been trained through the Senior Health Insurance Program to assist you with comparisons and enrollments.
ASSISTANCE WILL BE AVAILABLE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY!
Appointments can be scheduled beginning September 10, 2018
Please call MASS at 815-539-7700 to schedule an appointment.
MEDICARE UPDATES ~ COMING IN 2018
NEW MEDICARE CARDS ~ ARE YOU READY?
CMS is beginning the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI) to prevent fraud, fight identity theft, and to keep tax dollars safe. Medicare (CMS) will begin mailing the new cards in April 2018. The mailing will include the new Medicare card and a letter with instructions. The cards will remain red, white, and blue, but will be smaller (credit card size) and the gender and signature line will not appear on the new cards. Newly-eligible beneficiaries will receive a card with a unique number, regardless of where they live. Existing beneficiaries will receive their new card over a period of 12 months. Distribution of those cards will be randomized by geographic location. All existing cards will be replaced by the April 2019 statutory deadline. You should use the new card once you receive it, but either the SSN-based or the new random alphanumeric-based card can be used through December 2019. Beginning January 1, 2020 only the new card will be usable. The Railroad Retirement Board will issue new cards to RRB beneficiaries. Anyone with Medicare should make sure their current address is correct with the Social Security Administration now.
ATTENTION MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES
Extra Help: If you meet certain income and resource limits, you may qualify for Extra Help from Medicare to pay the costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage. Drug costs in 2016 for most people who qualify will be no more than $2.95 for each generic/$7.40 for each brand-name for covered drugs. Other people pay only a portion of their Medicare drug plan premiums and deductibles based on their income level.
Single-Income $17,655/Assets 13,640 Married-Income $23,895/Assets $27,250
Medicare Savings Programs: Medicare Savings Programs can help pay for Medicare premiums and in some cases, may also pay deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. There are three Medicare Savings Programs. The Qualified Medical Beneficiary program (QMB) which pays for Part A premiums, Part B premiums, and deductibles, coinsurances, and copayments, Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary program (SLMB) which pays for Part B premiums, Qualified Individual program (QI) which pays for Part B premiums.
QMB - Single $1,015 / Married $1,360 All Medicare Savings Programs
SLMB - Single $1,212 / Married $1,626 have an asset limit of:
QI - Single $1,361 / Married $1,826 Single $7,280 / Married $10,930
What items are included in the Medicare Savings Program resource limits?
Countable resources include:
Money in a checking or savings account Stocks Bonds
Countable resources don’t include:
Your home One car Burial plot Up to $1,500 for burial expenses if you have put that money aside Furniture Other household and personal items
Medicare Preventative Services: As a result of the Affordable Care Act, started on January 1, 2011, individuals in Original Medicare qualify for many preventive services for free or at a lower cost. This means the yearly Part B deductible and/or 20% co-insurance will be waived if the doctor accepts assignment. Please call the MASS office for more information on Preventative Services.