The following 20 questions and answers are the most frequently asked questions by callers to the Medicare + Choice toll free line. These questions and answers will be updated periodically.

1.How can I get a Replacement Medicare card?
2.How can I find out if I have Medicare coverage?
3.I can't afford my Medicare premiums. What can I do?
4.Will I automatically be enrolled in Medicare when Iturn65?
5.Does Medicare pay for dental services?
6.Who submits my bills to Medicare? How much do I have topay?
7.What is Medicare?
8.Who do I contact to change my name and address forMedicare purposes?
9.What is Medicare + Choice?
10.How can I leave a Medicare Health Plan?
11.What medical supplies and equipment does Medicare PartB cover?
12.Does Medicare pay for prescription drugs?
13.I didn't enroll in Medicare Part B when I turned 65because I was still working. Can I enroll now?
14.I originally refused Medicare Part B when I turned 65.Can Ienroll now?
15.What is a Medigap policy?
16.Who is eligible for Medicare Part A (hospitalinsurance)?
17.What types of services are covered under Medicare PartB?
18.What diabetic supplies does Original Medicarecover?
19.What is a Medicare deductible?
20.How do Medicare managed care plans work?

1.How can I get a Replacement Medicare card?

If you lose your card, you can obtain a replacementcard by phone at 1-800-772-1213, or online at the SocialSecurity Administration web site. Make sure you have yourMedicare number ready when you call. You should receiveyour new card in about four weeks.



2.How can I find out if I have Medicare coverage?

You must call the Social Security Administration at1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social SecurityOffice to verify your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.This information can also be found on your red, white, andblue Medicare card.



3.I can't afford my Medicare premiums. What can I do?

If your income is limited, your State may help pay yourMedicare costs such as your premiums and deductibles.Check theHelpful Contacts section of this web site for the phonenumber of your State Medical Assistance Program. They canhelp you determine if you are qualified. If you haveMedicare Part A, your income is limited, and yourfinancial resources such as bank accounts, stocks, andbonds are not more than $4,000 for an individual, or $6000for a couple, you may qualify forassistance as a Qualified Medicare Beneficiary orSpecified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary. The QualifiedMedicare Beneficiary Program (also known as QMB) pays theMedicare monthly Part B premium, deductibles andcoinsurance. The Specified Low Income Medicare BeneficiaryProgram (also known as SLMB) helps pay the Medicaremonthly Part B premium for qualified Medicarebeneficiaries.



4.Will I automatically be enrolled in Medicare when Iturn 65?

If you are receiving Social Security or RailroadRetirement or disability benefits, you will beautomatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.About 3 months prior to your 65th birthday or 24th monthof disability, you will be sent an InitialEnrollment Package that will contain information aboutMedicare, a questionnaire and your red, white and blueMedicare card. If you want both Medicare Part A (hospitalinsurance) and Part B (medical insurance), you should signyour Medicare card and keep it in your wallet. If youdon't want Part B coverage, you must put and X in therefusal box on theback of the Medicare card form; sign the form and returnit with the card to Social Security at the address shown.You will then be sent a new Medicare card showing that youonly have Part A.



5.Does Medicare pay for dental services?

Medicare does not cover routine dental care or most dentalprocedures such as cleanings, fillings, tooth extractionor dentures. There are rare cases in which Medicare Part Bwill pay for certain dental services. In addition, thereare some situations in which MedicarePart A will pay for certain dental services delivered onan inpatient basis. You should contact your local Carrierfor more information. Check the Helpful Contacts sectionof this web site for the phone number.



6.Who submits my bills to Medicare? How much do I have topay?

If you are in Original Medicare, your doctor or otherhealth care provider will file your claim with Medicare.You'll receive a statement showing how much you'll need topay. If you do not receive a Medicare statement (MedicareSummary Notice or Explanation ofMedicare Benefits), you'll need to contact your localcarrier to have them send you a copy. Check the HelpfulContacts section of this web site for the phone number ofyour carrier. If you have supplemental insurance orMedigap, they may pay part of your costs. Check with yoursupplemental insurance company to find out what they willpay.



7.What is Medicare?

Medicare is a Federal health insurance program for people65 years or older, certain people with disabilities, andpeople with permanent kidney failuretreated with dialysis or a transplant. Medicare has twoparts - Part A which is hospital insurance, and Part Bwhich is medical insurance.



8.Who do I contactto change my name and address for Medicare purposes?

If you have had a recent name or address change, it willneed to be reported to the Social Security Administration.Social Security will notify Medicare of the change whenthey change their records. Their phone number can be foundin the Helpful Contacts section of this web site. If youare in theOriginal Medicare Plan, you should also notify the Part Bcarrier of your new name or address change. The carrierprocesses your claims for doctor bills and other medicalexpenses. Check the Helpful Contacts section of this website for the phone number of your carrier. If you are in aMedicare managed care plan, you should contact your planof any name or addresschanges.



9.What is Medicare + Choice?

Medicare + Choice is a term used to describe the varioushealth plan options available to Medicare beneficiaries.



10.How can I leave a Medicare Health Plan?

You can leave a plan in one of 3 ways.You can:
  • call the plan you wish to leave and ask for adisenrollmentform; or
  • call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to requestthat your disenrollment be processed over thephone; or
  • call the Social Security Administration or visityour Social Security Office to file yourdisenrollment request.
The phone number for the Social Security office in yourarea can be found in the Helpful Contacts section ofthis site. In most cases, you are disenrolled the monthafter your request is made as long as your request wasfiled before the 10th day of the month. If your requestwas made after the 10th of the month, you will bedisenrolled the first day of the second calendar monthafter your request was made. You do not need to fill out adisenrollment form if youdecide to join another managed care plan. You will beautomatically disenrolled from your old plan when your newplan enrollment becomes effective.



11.What medical supplies and equipment does Medicare PartB cover?

Medicare Part B helps pay for durable medical equipmentsuch as oxygen equipment, wheelchairs, and other medicallynecessary equipment that your doctor prescribes to use inyour home. Other items covered by Medicare include:
  • arm, leg, back and neck braces
  • medical supplies such as ostomy pouches, surgicaldressings, splints and casts
  • breast prostheses following a mastectomy
  • one pair of eyeglasses with an intraocular lensafter cataract surgery
Medicare pays for different kinds of durable medicalequipment in different ways. Some equipment must berented, otherequipment must be purchased. Your Durable MedicalEquipment Regional Carrier can provide more specificinformation. Check the Helpful Contacts section of thisweb site for the phone number for your Durable MedicalEquipment Regional Carrier.



12.Does Medicare pay for prescription drugs?

Generally, Original Medicare does not cover prescriptiondrugs. However, Medicare does cover some drugs in certaincases such as immunosuppressive drugs (for transplantpatients) and oral anti-cancer drugs. You should callyour Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carrier for moreinformation. Check the Helpful Contacts section of thisweb site for the phone number. There are some MedicareHealth Plans that cover prescription drugs. You can alsocheck into getting a Medigap or supplemental insurancepolicy for prescription drug coverage. Medicaid may alsohelp pay forprescription drugs for people who are eligible.



13.I didn't enroll in Medicare Part B when I turned 65because I was still working. Can I enroll now?

You qualify to enroll in Medicare during aSpecial Enrollment Period if you delayed enrolling in PartB because you were working and had group health insurancethrough your employer or your spouse's employer. If yousign up during the Special Enrollment Period, you do nothave to pay the Part B premium surcharge. Signing up forMedicare Part B will begin your 6 month open enrollmentperiod for buying a Medigap policy. You can enroll in PartB:
  • any month in which you are still covered underyour current enrollment; or
  • the 8-month period beginning with either the dateyour employment ends or the date your grouphealth plan ends, whichever comes first.
You should contact the Social Security Administrationto file an application. The phone number for the SocialSecurity office in your area can be found in the HelpfulContacts section of this site.



14.I originally refused Medicare Part B when I turned 65.Can I enroll now?

Anyone who has refused, terminated, or withdrawn fromMedicare Part B or Premium Free Part A coverage can enrollagain. You can enroll during January, February, or Marchof each year. This is referred to as the GeneralEnrollment Period. Your Medicare coverage will not beginuntil July1st. You may or may not have to pay a premium surcharge.Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213for an appointment or visit your local Social SecurityOffice to file an application. They will also tell you theamount of any premium surcharge you may have to pay.



15.What is a Medigap policy?

Supplemental insurance policies are sometimes calledMedigap plans. Medigap plans are private health insurancepolicies that cover some of the costs the OriginalMedicare Plan does not cover. Some Medigappolicies will cover services not covered by Medicare suchas prescription drugs. Medigap has 10 standard planscalled Plan "A" through Plan "J". Each plan has adifferent set of benefits. The states of Minnesota,Wisconsin and Massachusetts have choices other than Plan"A" through Plan "J". Your State Insurance Department cananswer questions about the Medigap policiessold in your area. Check the Helpful Contacts section ofthis web site for the phone number of your State InsuranceDepartment.



16.Who is eligible forMedicare Part A (hospital insurance)?

If you have worked at least 10 years in Medicare coveredemployment you will qualify for premium free Medicare PartA (Hospital Insurance). To qualify, you must be:
  • 65 or older; or
  • Disabled and receiving disability benefits fromSocial Security or the Railroad Retirement Boardfor 24 months; or
  • Have permanent kidney failure treated withdialysis or a transplant
You should contact the Social Security Administration tofile an application. Check the Helpful Contacts section ofthis web site for the phone number of the Social SecurityOffice in your area.



17.What types of services are covered under Medicare PartB?

Medicare Part B helps pay for doctors' services,outpatient hospital care, blood, medical equipment andsome home health services. It also pays for othermedical services such as lab tests and physical andoccupational therapy. Some preventive services such asmammograms and flu shots are also covered. Medicare Part Bdoes NOT cover routine physical exams; eye glasses;custodial care; dental care; dentures; routine foot care;hearing aids; orthopedic shoes; or cosmetic surgery. Italso does not cover mostprescription drugs or health care you get while travelingoutside the United States (except under limitedcircumstances).



18.What diabetic supplies does original Medicare cover?

Medicare covers the same supplies for both insulin andnon-insulin dependent diabetics. They include: Glucosetesting monitor Blood glucose test strips Lancets Springpowered devices for lancets Glucose control solutions Somefrequency limitations may apply. Medicare does not coverinsulin and syringes. Contact your Durable MedicalEquipment Regional Carrier for more information. Check theHelpful Contacts section of this web site for the phonenumber.



19.What is a Medicare deductible?

A deductible is the amount you must pay each year beforeMedicare begins paying its portion of your medical bill.There are deductibles for both the Part A (HospitalInsurance) and Part B (doctor services) portions ofMedicare. Your deductible is taken out of your claims whenMedicare receives them. Medicare will not start paying onyour claims until youhave met your annual deductible. If youhave any questions on the status of your deductible pleasecontact your Medicare carrier.



20.How do Medicare managed care plans work?

Medicare managed care plans are another way for you toreceive Medicare benefits. All plans must provide all ofthe services that you would receive under OriginalMedicare with some added benefits. You usually must usethe doctors, hospitals and providers in the plan'snetwork. You may have to pay a monthly premium to yourhealth plan. However, you would not need a supplementalMedigap policy if you join a managed care plan.