Changes on the way for Medicare recipients

Changes on the way for Medicare recipients
Cynthia Abel appears on Mid-Day to discuss the changes in Medicare in 2018. (Source: KAIT-TV)
Cynthia Abel appears on Mid-Day to discuss the changes in Medicare in 2018. (Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Medicare recipients can expect to find new Medicare cards, premium changes, and deductibles in 2018.

"All of the prices went up, pretty much," Cynthia Abel, Education Specialist for the Center on Aging-Northeast said. "All of the premiums went up. There are several plans, particularly The Advantage Plan, that stopped carrying people. So these people who have these plans will have to enroll in something else."

Abel is the main presenter for a program being offered at 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 12 at the UAMS Center on Aging-Northeast, 303 E. Matthews. She will answer questions and make appointments to help seniors understand their enrollment options.

"It is important to look at your drug plan each year for premium increases and other changes," Abel said. "The open enrollment period is the only time during the year you can change to another plan that works better for you."

Open enrollment runs Nov. 1 – Dec. 17.

"Next year, as of April, Medicare will be rolling out new Medicare cards to everyone and they are going to have generic numbers on them. Just random numbers like your driver's license," Abel said. "That's to prevent identity theft and it's also going to stop putting in whether you're male or female. And you don't have to sign the card anymore. If someone tries to use the card fraudulently, it will flag Medicare and they can stop the charges."

Abel did warn that some cards will be sent to deceased persons.

"Their families should not be alarmed," she said. Abel claims those cards will be sent because some medical bill remains outstanding for a while in case of a death.

The Center on Aging-Northeast has assisted Medicare recipients in enrollment for Medicare Part D since 2006. To find out more about their programs call 870-207-7597 or 800-745-0557.

The Center on Aging-Northeast, located at 303 East Matthews, is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Support is also provided by St. Bernards Healthcare.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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