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Medicare beneficiaries urged to use caution

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POSTED: March 3, 2007 5:09 a.m.
ATLANTA — After receiving complaints from Medicare beneficiaries about Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, GeorgiaCares SMP is encouraging Georgians to use caution, make informed healthcare decisions, and use the resources of GeorgiaCares SMP during the open enrollment period, Jan. 1 through March 31.
Beneficiaries are complaining that insurance agents are not making them fully aware of MA benefits and are not informing them that enrollment may require changing doctors, specialists or hospitals.  
They are also being enrolled without consent.  Medicare does not go door-to-door and insurance agents cannot solicit business without making an appointment, so GeorgiaCares SMP is encouraging beneficiaries to request all information be sent to them in writing to review before making a final decision to enroll in a MA or other healthcare plan.   
“Although legitimate Medicare Advantage plans can be of benefit to some, there is the potential for more fraud during the open enrollment period,” Maria Greene, director of Division of Aging Services said.  
The GeorgiaCares SMP, which is administered through the Georgia Department of Human Resources/DAS, provides community education, counseling and referrals relating toMedicare and Medicaid error, fraud and abuse.  
SMP projects are funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging.If beneficiaries choose to enroll in a MA plan, they should be aware they: have the same rights and protections offered by Medicare; will receive the same services as Original Medicare; may receive extra benefits in addition to what Original Medicare covers (this may include dental, hearing and vision care); will still pay the Medicare Part B premium, but directly to the MA plan; are responsible for any premium the MA plan may charge;  and may be responsible for other costs. Call  GeorgiaCares SMP at 1-800-669-8387.
 

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