Each day, you make important choices about your finances, health, privacy, and more.
During National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 4–8, 2018, non-profit organizations and government agencies can help you take advantage of your rights and make better-informed choices.
Here are 5 things you can do to become an informed Medicare consumer:
- Know your rights. As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections designed to help protect you and make sure you get the health care services the law says you can get.
- Protect your identity. Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Keep information like your Social Security Number, bank account numbers and Medicare Number safe. To help protect you from identity fraud, starting in April 2018, Medicare will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare. Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you. Get more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
- Help fight Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud takes money from the Medicare program each year, which means higher health care costs for you. Learn how to report fraud.
- Get involved with other seniors with the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). The SMP educates and empowers people with Medicare to take an active role in detecting and preventing health care fraud and abuse.
- Make informed Medicare choices. Each year during the fall Open Enrollment Period (October 15–December 7), review your plan to make sure it will meet your needs for the next year. If you’re not satisfied with your current plan, you can switch during the Open Enrollment Period.
Visit NCPW.gov to learn more about the campaign, see which agencies and organizations are able to help you, and to find out if there are any activities happening in your area. Also, check out our videos for tips on preventing Medicare fraud.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people 50 and older.
The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer—that’s why it’s so important to get screened. You don’t have to do it alone—Medicare covers colorectal cancer screenings to help you detect and prevent colorectal cancer, and you’ll pay nothing for most of them.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so this is a great time to do 5 things to stop this cancer in its tracks.
- Get screened
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t drink too much alcohol
- Don’t smoke
Do what you can so you’re not one of the 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, and let Medicare help.
Spring is a season of new beginnings and growth, bringing us longer hours of daylight, sprouting tulips, and warmer weather. It’s the perfect time to renew your commitment to better health, and practice preventive care. Preventive services are valuable to your wellbeing, because they can help you keep from getting sick and find health problems early, when treatment works best. Taking advantage of them is a crucial step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and every little bit helps.
When you have Medicare, you have access to a variety of preventive tests and screenings, most at no cost to you. If you’re new to Medicare, we cover a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit during your first 12 months of Part B coverage. This visit includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and education and counseling about preventive services, including certain screenings, shots, and referrals for other care, if needed.
If you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get a yearly wellness visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan based on your current health and risk factors. In addition to these important wellness visits, Medicare covers screening tests for diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, and obesity management, just to name a few. Check out our complete list of Medicare-covered preventive services and watch our preventive benefits video.
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Start this spring by practicing preventive care, so you can you stay healthy and live longer.
Each year, about 8,000 people die waiting for an organ transplant, and just one donor can save and heal up to 75 lives through organ and tissue donation. Today, there are more than 120,000 patients waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and many more who need cornea, tissue, bone marrow, blood, and platelet donations.
There are 2 ways to become a donor:
- Deceased organ donors – can donate both kidneys, liver, both lungs, heart, pancreas, and intestines.
- Living organ donor – can donate one kidney, one lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestines.
Over 80% of people on the transplant list need a kidney transplant, usually due to permanent kidney failure or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Medicare covers kidney transplants for both the person getting the transplant and the donor. If you’re getting the transplant, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for doctor services. You pay nothing if you’re the living donor.
National Donor Day is February 14th. Give the gift of life this Valentine’s Day, and sign up to be an organ donor.
Did you know that every minute, heart disease takes the life of a woman in the United States? Heart disease doesn’t affect every woman in the same way, but there are signs to look for and ways to help prevent it.
Medicare covers cardiovascular disease screenings every 5 years for people with Part B. Quitting smoking also helps lower your risk of heart disease, and Medicare covers smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling for people with Part B.
National Wear Red Day is February 2nd. Support the women in your life and #WearRedandGive.
Although popular love songs might tell you otherwise, a broken heart can’t kill you—but heart disease can. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, taking about 630,000 lives each year.
You might not be able to avoid Cupid’s arrow, but you can take steps to lower your risks and help prevent heart disease. Start by scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss whether you’re at risk for heart disease.
Medicare covers a cardiovascular disease screening at no cost to you every 5 years. The screening includes tests to help detect heart disease early and measures cholesterol, blood fat (lipids), and triglyceride levels. If you’ve had a heart condition, like a heart attack or heart transplant, Medicare covers cardiac rehabilitation programs that include exercise, education, and counseling.
If you’re at risk for a heart attack or stroke, there are steps you can take to help prevent these conditions. You might be able to make lifestyle changes (like changing your diet and increasing your activity level or exercising more often) to lower your cholesterol and stay healthy.
February is American Heart Month, so show your heart some love by visiting the Million Hearts Learn & Prevent center. Here, you can find your possible risks for heart disease, and resources, like heart-healthy recipes to help keep your heart strong. Million Hearts is a national initiative to help keep people healthy, optimize care, and improve outcomes for priority populations.
While you’re celebrating with loved ones this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to show your heart some love, too.
Starting in April 2018, Medicare will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare, to help protect you from identity fraud. Fraudsters are always looking for ways to get your Social Security Number so we’re removing Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards to make them safer.
Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you. The new card will help protect your identity and keep your personal information more secure. Your Medicare coverage and benefits stay the same.
And there’s more good news—Medicare will automatically mail your new card at no cost to the address you have on file with Social Security. There’s nothing you need to do! If you need to update your official mailing address, visit your online my Social Security account.
Once you get your new Medicare card, take these 3 steps to make it harder for someone to steal your information and identity:
- Destroy your old Medicare card right away.
- Use your new card. Doctors, other health care providers, and plans approved by Medicare know that Medicare is replacing the old cards. They are ready to accept your new card when you need care.
- Beware of people contacting you about your new Medicare card and asking you for your Medicare Number, personal information, or to pay a fee for your new card. Treat your Medicare Number like you treat your Social Security or credit card numbers. Remember, Medicare will never contact you uninvited to ask for your personal information.
For more information about your new Medicare card, visit go.medicare.gov/newcard. You can also visit Medicare.gov for tips to prevent Medicare fraud.