Elder Benefits

Welcome to the Sawyer County Elder Benefit Specialist (EBS) Webpage --- Under Construction---

Below, please find topic links to information and resources that you may find helpful.
This site was developed to put access to commonly asked information in one place in order to empower people to be as independent as they wish. Many programs have online applications/enrollments. The Sawyer County EBS is also available to provide information, assistance and support, and can help with most applications/enrollments.


Featured Topic:

MC OEP top


Part D & Advantage Plan Open Enrollment Period October 15 – December 7

During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, which runs October 15 through December 7 each year, beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare coverage. 

This 58 second video below provides a quick overview of Medicare's Open Enrollment.

Four Reasons to Check Your Prescription Drug Plan:

  1. Your plan may cost more next year due to changes in deductibles, premiums and co-pays.
  2. Your plan may no longer cover all your medications because insurance companies change their formularies.
  3. Your plan may have put restrictions on some of your medications such as preauthorization, quantity limits and step therapy.
  4. You may be taking different medications now.
To Dos:
  • Read important notices, like your Annual Notice of Change
  • Review your current Medicare health and drug coverage
  • Shop around
  • Watch out for misleading marketing or enrollment fraud

Prepare Early This Year!  Review Your Medicare Plan!

Article by Debbie Bisswurm, GWAAR Medicare Outreach Coordinator & Ingrid Kundinger, SMP Project Manager

The Wisconsin Senior Medicare Patrol, SMP, informs and empowers Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, abuse, and errors by providing outreach and education in their communities. At this time of year, SMP wants every Medicare beneficiary to ask three key questions.

  1. Do I have a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan? 
    • Every year Medicare Part D plans can change the list of prescription medications they will cover.
    • That means even if you are taking the same medications, the amount you pay for your medications may change in 2021! The plans’ premiums, deductibles, and co-pays can also change each year.
  2. If I do, what should I do about this?
    • All Medicare beneficiaries should check their Part D coverage each year during Medicare’s annual open enrollment period which runs from October 15 through December 7. This is the time of year to find out if your current plan will cost you more or less than other Part D plans in 2021.
    • If it is no longer the best plan for your medications, this is the time to make a switch to a Part D plan that will suit you better. Make sure you will have appropriate prescription drug coverage in the new year. 
    • You can compare plans on the official Medicare website at Medicare.gov.
  3. Where can I get help?
  • Medicare beneficiaries can receive free, unbiased assistance with plan comparisons from the Elder Benefit Specialists at the Aging and Disability Resource Center, ADRC, in your area. The ADRC offices will also have a form with instructions to help you get organized. (Note: Form TBA)

Assistance is also available through the following resources:

  • 1-800-MEDICARE or www.medicare.gov
  • Medigap Helpline 1-800-242-1060
  • Disability Drug Helpline 1-800-926-4862
  • Wisconsin Medigap Prescription Drug Helpline 1-855-677-2783 (for people 60+)

SMP wants all Medicare beneficiaries who have a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan to be aware of possible changes in your plan. Avoid stress in the new year by understanding changes in your plan and its future pricing now. Don’t wait until it’s too late to change. By reviewing your prescriptions during this period, you can potentially prevent a startling discovery in the new year. Make sure that you get the best plan for 2021 now.

Be on the lookout for a Fraud Alert addressing potential misconduct and violations surrounding Open Enrollment Period.

Additional Resources for Open Enrollment:

Elder Benefit Specialist Open Enrollment Assistance:


We are still here to help.

Due to COVID-19, however, face to face appointments will not be an option this year, so extra time for phone calls and mail will need to be allowed. Virtual visits via Zoom are also an option- No need to have a Zoom account, as are smart phone video calls

If you are happy with your current plan, there is no need to do anything.

If you are unhappy with your current plan, or just curious, and would like to compare plans yourself, you can do that by going to www.medicare.gov.  

If you would like assistance locally, there will be a form available that can be completed and returned to the ADRC in Sawyer County by mail, email, fax or dropped off.  I will then run the Medicare Planfinder for you and call or e-mail you the results. 

FORM LINK- TBA

If there are unforeseen circumstances and I am not able to help you, it is possible that you may need to seek help from other resources besides the Elder Benefits Specialist for open enrollment this year.

Assistance is also available through the following resources:

  • 1-800-MEDICARE or www.medicare.gov
  • Medigap helpline  1-800-242-1060
  • Disability Drug Helpline  1-800-926-4862  (if under age 60)
  • Wisconsin Medigap Prescription Drug Helpline   1-855-677-2783
Please keep this list of resources handy in case you should need to use it in the future.


About the EBS Program

Elder benefit specialists (EBS) help answer questions and solve problems related to Social Security, Medicare, health insurance and other public and private benefits for older adults. They serve people ages 60 and over. Services are free of charge. Similar services are available to younger adults with disabilities through a Disability Benefit Specialist (DBS).
What can a benefit specialist do for you?
  • Provide accurate information about a wide variety of programs that cover healthcare, food, and other household expenses
  • Help you identify and apply for programs that will best meet your needs
  • Help with an appeal when eligibility or coverage is denied
  • Advocate on your behalf

Additional EBS Program Information:
Benefit Specialists can provide you with the information you’re looking for and connect you to the resources you need.


Sawyer County's EBS

Carol Martin
Aging and Disability Resource Center of the North
10610 Main., Ste. 224, Hayward, WI 54843
Email: cmartin@sawyerhs.hayward.wi.us
Phone: 1-866-663-3607 x205
Fax: 715-634-3580
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8-11:30a and 12:30p-4p


Please note, although no face to face visits are being scheduled at this time due to the COVID-19 virus…
We are still here to help.
Please contact Carol for
information or assistance
with services/benefits.


Helpful Links to Information

Below, please find topic links to information and resources that you may find helpful. This site was developed to put access to commonly asked information in one place in order to empower people to be as independent as they wish. Many programs have online applications/enrollments. 
The Sawyer County EBS is also available to provide information, assistance and support and can help with most applications/enrollments.



COVID-19 Resources



What You Should Know Before You Turn 65 

GWAAR What to Know When You Turn 65 image Opens in new windowHelpful information from GWAAR.org- The Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging:


 

Social Security Administration (SSA): https://www.ssa.gov/

Sawyer County residents are assigned to the Social Security Administration office in Superior, WI: Contact info
Disability Benefits

Information about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Applying for Medicare Benefits

It is recommended to apply 2-3 months prior to when you would like the benefit to begin. Contact EBS for more info.

Applying for Retirement Benefits

It is recommended to apply 2-3 months prior to when you would like the benefit to begin.

 


Medicare: 

https://www.medicare.gov/

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for: People who are 65 or older; Certain younger people with disabilities and People with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).
Note: Enrollment for Medicare Part A and Part B is completed through the Social Security Administration.

Commonly Requested Resources about Medicare:

Medicare Basics

Types of Medicare Health Plans, Advantage Plans and Medigap/Supplemental Policy Options

Prescription Coverage

Part D Prescription Option

Wisconsin SeniorCare Option

Medicare Apps and Tools

  • Medicare’s Phone App: What’s Covered
  • Care Compare- Medicare’s online tool to help you find & compare doctors, hospitals & other providers near you that accept Medicare.

Medicare & You Handbook

  • The Medicare & You 2020 Handbook is available online in pdf, large print, ebook, audiobook and braille formats and can be requested in book form. Books can also be picked up locally at the ADRC.

Medicare Medicare Resources


Programs that Can Assist with Medicare Costs


 


Medicaid Resources


  • Medicare Savings Programs
    • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)
    • Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB & SLMB+)
    • Qualified Disabled and Working Individual (QDWI) Program
Applications, renewals and changes can also be completed online at: www.access.wisconsin.gov



Housing Resources

For general information about rental assistance, tenant/landlord rights, and assistance with completing applications, please contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the North



Energy Assistance


Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP)
  • Sawyer County residents, please call 715-634-4806 to schedule an appointment;
  • Residents living on Lac Courte Oreilles tribal boundaries, please call 715-634-8934 x7474



FoodShare (SNAP)


For information about other nutritional programs and food resources, please contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the North

 


Transportation

For information about other transportation resources, please contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the North

 


Additional Links of Interest

 Local Links:



Medicare Open Enrollmenthttps://www.medicare.gov/blog/get-ready-for-medicares-open-enrollment#OpenEnrollment