New Medicare Cards

New Medicare Cards Are Coming

As you may have heard, new Medicare cards are in the works for all Medicare eligible beneficiaries. New cards are mailing out between April 2018 and April 2019 to the address Medicare has on file for you. If you have moved or have a change of address, visit your online Social Security account at My Social Security Account.  MWG Senior Services is available to help guide you through your transition to the new Medicare card.

What does a new Medicare card mean for you?

  • Social Security numbers will no longer be visible on your Medicare card.
  • Greater protection against fraud and identity theft.
  • You may receive calls from scam artists trying to obtain your Medicare number.  Do not provide it to them.  If you receive a call from what you believe to be a scam, call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 immediately.

 Things to remember when you receive your new Medicare card:

  • There is nothing YOU need to do to receive your new Medicare card.
  • It will not change your benefits or coverage with Medicare.
  • It will not cost you anything to get the new card.
  • If someone calls you asking you to provide any personal information, hang up immediately and call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.

 Has your Medicare card been lost, stolen, or damaged?

  • Call Social Security @ 1-800-772-1213 and ask that they send you a new one.
  • It will take about 30 days for it to arrive by mail.
  • If you need proof of coverage before you receive the new card, call Social Security and they can mail you a letter that will arrive in 10 days.
  • If you need proof of benefits immediately, visit your local Social Security office.

During this time, be very mindful of the potential scams you may face. Scam artists will try to obtain your personal information by contacting you about your new Medicare card. They may call and ask you for your Medicare or Social Security number.  They may tell you there is a charge for your new card and they need to verify personal information.  They may threaten to cancel benefits and coverage if you don’t provide this information.  These types of calls are more than likely from a scam artist.  Hang up immediately and call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.

Let us help you.  Contact MWG Senior Services if you have any concerns or questions regarding your new Medicare card. We can be reached at 1-877-759-5760 or by email at seniorservices@morganwhite.com.

Medicare Covered Vaccination

With flu season right around the corner, let’s think of the best ways to protect ourselves from illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia.  Did you know that Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) typically covers one flu shot per flu season and the pneumonia vaccination?  Also, there are other vaccinations that you could get free of charge, like the Hepatitis B, Shingles, and the Tdap Vaccinations.

Flu Vaccination:

In recent studies, between 71 – 85% of deaths associated with the flu have occurred in people over the age of 65.  This goes to show that the flu is a huge threat for people 65 and older, but getting vaccinated can help drop the risk of contracting the flu and maybe even save your life.  It is better to get the flu shot as soon as possible.  Early fall is best because it can take about two weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

Medicare Part B covers the flu vaccination, but always check with your doctor to make sure they accept the assignment. 

Pneumonia Vaccination: 

According to the CDC, adults 65 years and older are at the greatest risk of serious pneumococcal infections that could possibly lead to death.  There are two different pneumonia shots available in the United States which can protect you and your loved ones:  Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13) and Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23 or Pneumovax 23).  The good news is that both pneumococcal vaccines are covered by your Medicare Part B when they are administered at least 12 months apart.  Make sure to check with your doctor to see if they accept the assignment before you decide where to receive the vaccinations. 

Hepatitis B Vaccination: 

If you are suffering from a condition that has lowered your resistance to infection and you are at high or medium risk for contracting Hepatitis B, Medicare Part B will cover this vaccination.  Check with your doctor to see if you are eligible and ask them if they accept the assignment.  If they do, it is in your best interested to take advantage and get vaccinated right away. 

Shingles Vaccination: 

Even though Medicare Part A and Part B does NOT cover the shingles vaccination, it might be covered by your Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D).  Check with your Medicare prescription drug plan carrier to see if it is covered.  Getting vaccinated from shingles could protect you from months and maybe even years of pain and suffering. 

Tdap Vaccination:

Tdap stands for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (whooping cough).  This vaccination isn’t covered by Medicare Part A or Part B, but your Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) may cover it.  The CDC recommends that individuals get the vaccination if they have close contact with babies younger than 12 months and/or after you have experienced a severe cut or burn. 

Protecting yourself from these serious and possibly life threatening diseases is always a plus! When taking steps to ensure you are a healthier you, I have a saying I like to use; “carpe diem”.  So today, make a positive step forward in protecting yourself from potential preventative illnesses and Seize the Day! 

I hope after reading the MWG Senior Services blog, you call your doctor right away to schedule your vaccinations or check with your local pharmacist to see if they can administer the immunizations.  For more Medicare tips and education please visit our blog again soon!  MWG Senior Services is here to help you navigate the Medicare maze!  Please give us a call at 877-759-5760 or feel free to email us at seniorservices@morganwhite.com. 

Carpe Diem! 

When can I buy a Medigap policy?

Are you turning 65 soon?  You might find out that looking through Medicare options is like trying to put together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.  Fortunately, in this and upcoming blogs, we have selected some frequently asked questions to talk about in more detail.  Today’s article is about buying a Medigap policy.  

We hear this question all the time; “When can I buy a Medigap policy?”  The good news is you can buy Medigap (Medicare Supplement) at any time throughout the year and you don’t have to wait until October 15 – December 7.  The stipulation is, you might have to go through underwriting to qualify for a different Medigap policy. 

In this blog, we will outline:

(1) When you can purchase a Medigap policy without having to go through underwriting.

(2) What is underwriting?

(3) When you can change your Medigap policy if you aren’t happy with it. 

If you purchase your Medigap policy when you are first eligible for Medicare, you can purchase any policy sold in your state without having to go through underwriting.  This means if you have any health problems, you can purchase a Medigap policy at the same rate as a healthy person, if you purchase it within your open enrollment period.  Each person’s open enrollment period will start the first day their Medicare Part B is effective and it will last for 6 months. 

If you decide to change your Medigap policy outside of your open enrollment period, typically you will go through underwriting.  This means, if you have some health problems, the insurance companies could either deny coverage or charge you more due to certain health conditions.  Keep in mind, even though Medigap policies are standardized, the health questions are not.  So, just because you may not qualify for one carrier doesn’t mean that you will be turned down for another carrier.  Check with our advisors to see if there is an option that fits your needs. 

If you are about to lose your group health coverage, you might be eligible for Guaranteed Issue, which is another way you can purchase a Medigap policy without having to go through underwriting.  There are many different qualifications for a Guaranteed Issue period.  Please click here to learn more about your Medicare rights.

To compare prices of different Medigap policies and carriers available in your state, click here.

Now that you know you don’t have to wait until October 15 – December 7 to make changes to your Medigap policy, and you know a little more about changing your Medigap (Medicare Supplement), please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (877) 759-5760 or send us an email at seniorservices@morganwhite.com with any questions you may have pertaining to your specific situation.  Be sure to mention you heard about us through our blog!  Have a great day! 

Source:  Medicare.gov