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Oct. 3, 2012

Couple getting adviceSix open enrollment tips for you and your clients

Medicare open enrollment is just around the corner (Oct. 15-Dec. 7)! Whether you’re a person with Medicare, a caregiver, or a professional helping clients to review their coverage options, we’ve got some helpful tips for you to remember this season.
Get the tips

Speaking out on senior hunger

Representatives from key aging and hunger groups held a briefing on Capitol Hill last month to highlight senior hunger and the low participation rates of seniors in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Center’s SNAP expert, Lura Barber, discussed how food assistance fits into the larger landscape of benefits available to low-income seniors.
Learn more | Find SNAP benefits in your state

hands typing at keyboardCMS creates Open Enrollment Center portal

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has created an online portal with information about open enrollment. The site features materials in both English and Spanish that counselors and agencies can use to do outreach, including posters, newsletter articles, and radio PSAs.
Access the CMS Open Enrollment Center

Medicare beneficiaries to see thousands in savings

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the Affordable Care Act will help the average Medicare beneficiary save $5,000 over the next decade. Many of these savings come from the now free preventive services, which 19 million people have accessed in 2012 alone.
Learn more | See your state's utilization stats | Get our preventive services chart

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What your clients can do online

Couple smiling at computer screenSeveral useful online resources can help your clients get direct and personal information about their Medicare and Social Security benefits. is a free, secure website where your clients can see an overview of their Medicare account, including enrollment and benefits status and claims. Use dummy IDs from CMS to help you get familiar with the site. Also, tell your clients they can now get their Social Security statement online by creating a "my Social Security account" at
Get test IDs | Learn more about the My Social Security account

Helpful Part D resources for professionals in your community

Share these practical and handy resources about the upcoming open enrollment period with professionals in your community, so they can help educate their patients this fall. Find our Part D brochure and quick-consult guide, which clearly explain what people with Medicare need to consider during this time of year, how to make the most informed decision about their 2013 coverage, and where they can find help.
Download the Part D Brochure | Access the Quick-Consult Guide



Our publication What to Expect in 2013 had an error regarding coverage of benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Please note that Part D drug plans are required, starting in 2013, to cover benzodiazepines and barbiturates when used to treat epilepsy, cancer, or a chronic mental disorder. Get more details in the revised publication.

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Benefits Alert is published by the National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment and National Council on Aging. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to

The National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment helps organizations enroll seniors and younger adults with disabilities with limited means into the benefits programs for which they are eligible so that they can remain healthy and improve the quality of their lives. For more information, visit


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The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, visit