Story last updated at 6/24/2009 - 10:46 am
ANCHORAGE - The state and federal program to help Alaskans with all things Medicare has a new name: Medicare Information Office.
"This better reflects our mission and helps people identify us more easily," said program manager Judith Bendersky. "We look forward to helping more Alaskans get more out of their Medicare."
The Medicare Information Office is part of the Senior and Disabilities Services Division in the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
The program has two employees in Anchorage and a statewide network of trained volunteer counselors in senior centers, Aging and Disabilities Resource Centers, pharmacies, tribal health organizations and other community-based organizations.
The program is funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U. S. Administration on Aging (AoA). Staff and counselors are available to offer the following services:
Answer Medicare questions for beneficiaries, family members and providers; hold information and enrollment events, and do public awareness campaigns through the CMS State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
Teach people how to spot and report potential Medicare errors, fraud, waste and abuse for AOA's Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program.
Counselors also advise people with limited incomes on whether they may qualify for financial assistance programs.
The Medicare Information Office is open for individual Medicare counseling 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Alaskans can also leave a message anytime at 269-3680 in Anchorage, 1-800-478-6065 toll-free statewide, and a counselor will return the call.