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Chemung County Offers Medicare Health Plan Information

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Chemung County Department of Aging and Long Term Care is available to assist Chemung County Medicare beneficiaries in understanding their health insurance options, including Medicare Private Health Plans.

The County has been receiving calls from residents who have been solicited through the mail or by phone from individuals who want to come to their home to tell them about Medicare changes. Chemung County would like residents to know Medicare does not make home visits or send out these postcards. These home visits, phone calls and postcards are from private health insurance agents who are interested in selling a Medicare private health plan, also known as "Medicare Advantage", "Medicare Part C", or "Medicare replacement" plans because they replace Original Medicare. Types of Medicare private health plans include Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Private Fee for Service plans (PFFS), and Special Needs Plans (SNPs).

The Chemung County Dept. of Aging and LTC offers the following information provided by the Medicare Rights Center for Medicare recipients:

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1- Original Medicare is the Medicare health coverage that everyone starts out with, and it is administered directly through the federal government. Since it is a not-for-profit system, and the federal government does not make money when you enroll, no salespeople will try to sell you Original Medicare.

2- Medicare private health plans are private insurance companies that contract with the federal government to provide Medicare health and/or drug benefits. These private, for-profit companies make money when you enroll, which is why they advertise and employ sales representatives.

3- When you decide to get your Medicare benefits through a Medicare private health plan, you still have Medicare, and plans must provide all Part A and Part B services to you. However, they can do so with additional rules, costs and restrictions. They may also offer additional benefits, like vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage. A Private plan's rules, costs and restrictions can greatly affect how much you pay for care.

4- Remember: If you are happy with your current coverage, keep it! You do not have to sign up for a Medicare private health plan, so do not let yourself be pressured into it. Keep in mind that if you choose a Medicare private health plan, the plan you pick can affect the health care you get, and you are limited in when and how often you can switch your plan.