PHOENIX, Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Arizona Department of Security, Division of Aging and Adult Services (DES DAAS) has ramped up outreach efforts to ensure eligible individuals understand and apply for new Medicare benefits. Changes in qualifying income means more Arizonans are eligible for Medicare Part D and “Extra Help” programs that make it easier to save on prescription costs, and pay some or all of premium, deductible, coinsurance and/or co-pay costs.
As many as 85,000 Arizonans are potentially eligible for Medicare Part D and “Extra Help” programs but haven’t signed up yet, according to estimates by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Administration on Aging (AoA), which funded the state’s expanded outreach.
“A majority of eligible Arizonans who aren’t enrolled are either unaware of Medicare, or intimidated by it,” said Patricia Gonzales Emblem, coordinator for Arizona’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program. “We’re hoping to overcome this hurdle by offering numerous ways to get information and assistance with Medicare applications by phone, online, or by attending a local enrollment event.
Medicare open enrollment began Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7, 2011, three weeks earlier than in previous years. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is holding Medicare enrollment events in communities across the state to help seniors, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers, understand and apply for the new Medicare benefits. Outreach to rural and minority populations are also being expanded.
Medicare Part D and “Extra Help” improvements provide eligible beneficiaries with as much as a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs, and a 14 percent discount on covered generic drugs. Benefits aimed at preventing disease and promoting wellness were improved as well. Health and wellness checkups and prevention screenings will now be reimbursed by Medicare when authorized by a physician. These include:
— “Welcome to Medicare” visits
— Annual wellness exams
— Adult flu, pneumonia and hepatitis immunizations
— Mammograms, pap smear and pelvic exams
— Bone mass measurements
— Diabetes self-management supplies and service
— Smoking cessation assistance
— Medical nutrition therapy
— Screenings for colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, glaucoma and cardiac disease.
For information on new Medicare benefits, and to complete an application, call 800-432-4040 or contact an AZ Links partner.
AZ Links is Arizona’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), which serves as a central source for health and wellness information and assistance for seniors, individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. This one-stop information network is comprised of local Areas on Aging, the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), Centers for Independent Living, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), and other state agencies. To locate an AZ Links partner and find additional resources and services for Arizona seniors and people with disabilities, visit www.AzLinks.gov.
SOURCE The Arizona Department of Security, Division of Aging and Adult Services