Making Sense of all the Hype on Medicare Benefits

Anyone who has turned 65 years old, or who may soon turn 65 years old, knows that the amount of mail they receive and advertisements they see concerning senior benefits can be overwhelming. How do you make sense of it all and how do you know if the benefits advertised are available to you? Perhaps some of the information below can help:
Grocery Credit
Seniors are deluged with information on social media, television, and radio about a grocery credit, usually in the amount of $900 or even as large as $3500, to be used for various senior needs, that is available to them. In truth, this is a solicitation for insurance. Some Medicare advantage plans will offer a grocery credit to new enrollees. If you click on a link to see if you qualify for this credit, you will find that the link doesn’t lead anywhere, or you will be asked some questions to see if you qualify for a Medicare Advantage plan. Advertising for this can be very misleading.
Seniors who need financial assistance with food can apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. You can apply for this program through the Department of Health and Welfare by calling 877.456.1233, or by filling out the application online. Your local SHIBA representative can help you with this and also check to see if you might qualify for other financial assistance.
Misleading, Miscellaneous Mailings
If you are a Medicare beneficiary, no doubt you have received a card or letter in the mail about the availability of advantage plans in our area. Humana did authorize agents to sell advantage plans in our area, but they are not contracted with our hospital or our family physicians. While the premium for an advantage plan can be lower than a medigap policy, out of pocket costs are usually much higher.
You may also have received something or heard something on the television about dental, vision, or hearing benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer some coverage on these services, but often it is a minimal amount of coverage. There is nothing in this area that completely covers dental, vision, and hearing.
If you have questions about information you have received concerning your Medicare benefits, please contact your local *SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisor) for clarification.
*Kim Hulme at Bear Lake Memorial Hospital 208-847-0949

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