February 26, 2010

Making Medicare info more accessible for all

Author: Darryl McGrath
Source: New York Teacher

NYSUT's retired members should find it easier to obtain information about Medicare, following the consolidation of two offices under the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The offices of External Affairs and Beneficiary Services have been combined into a single unit that will be responsible for all public information about Medicare and Medicaid.

That information will continue to be disseminated as it was before the consolidation through:

  • A toll-free hotline: 1-800-MEDICARE; 
  • State health insurance assistance programs and community-based organizations; and 
  • Publications and the Medicare.gov Web site.

NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue, whose office oversees retiree issues for the union, said the change is welcome.

The Medicare Rights Center (www.medicarerights.org) is a national, nonprofit organization that operates educational programs and services to help consumers understand Medicare.

Alan Lubin, NYSUT's immediate past executive vice president, is on the Medicare Rights Center's board of directors.

"The creation of a single office responsible for educating and counseling people with Medicare will be a great service to our retirees," Donahue said.