Area Agency on Aging to Assist with Benefits Counseling for Medicare Beneficiaries Through Open Enrollment

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People with Medicare have more choices and options for their Medicare coverage in 2023. Plan costs and covered benefits have changed, so the Area Agency on Aging of East Texas (AAA) encourages people with Medicare to look at their coverage choices and decide the options that best fits their health needs. Open Enrollment for 2023 Medicare health and drug plans begin on October 15, 2022, and ends December 7, 2022, giving individuals a chance to modify their plans.

The changes Medicare recipients can make during Open Enrollment include

· Joining a new Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D prescription drug plan

· Switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan

· Switching from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare (with or without a Part D plan)

Beneficiaries should always shop for a new drug plan, and Medicare Advantage plan each year to ensure they are getting the best coverage for the best price to suit their needs. Plans can be viewed and compared at

“I often hear people say, ‘I’m really happy with my current Medicare prescription plan so I don’t need to call a Benefits Counselor or look at making any changes.’ What you might not realize is the price of your current plan can change every year,” said AAA Director Colleen Halliburton. “If you do not go through the plan review process, you may be surprised on January 1st with higher costs, and those costs will be locked in for another year.”

The AAA is also known as the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and is available to compare your current coverage with available options and assist you with enrollment at no cost. Speak to a qualified Benefits Counselor by calling the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-442-8845. You may set up an appointment and be advised over the phone, by virtual meeting, or in person.

Local Scheduled Presentations

Our Certified Benefits Counselors have an event scheduled for several counties in the 14-county ETCOG region. These counties include Anderson, Henderson, Marion, Rains, and Wood. A list of scheduled presentations with times and locations can be viewed at These presentations require an appointment prior to arrival. To reserve your spot, call the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-442-8845.

Be on alert for these Medicare Open Enrollment scams

· Medicare or a health plan calls and wants to send you a new health card for $299.

· You receive a call about a refund from last year’s premiums or your drug plan cost.

· An agent tries to sign you up for a plan that you don’t need, isn’t right for you, or doesn’t even exist.

· Watch out for fake RX cards offering significant discounts with little or no benefits.

· You receive a call offering significant discounts on a new health insurance plan.

Tips on how to stop fraud during Open Enrollment

· Medicare will never call or visit. Medicare will only send information via postal mail service.

· Guard your Medicare card and number like a credit card.

· Don’t give out your Medicare number except to your doctor or other providers.

· Don’t let someone push you into making a fast decision.

· If you receive a call, especially from a number you do not recognize or anyone requesting personal information, hang up immediately.

· Know your health care options. Get help from your family, the Medicare website, or your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

· No health care plan is allowed to cold call.

For questions about fraud or to report a scam, please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-888-341-6187.