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On the Healthcare Front

Issue #19: September 2023

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when should you call kepro?

  • If you are not ready to be discharged from the hospital.
  • If your Medicare skilled services are ending too soon. Examples of skilled services include things like physical therapy and nursing services.
  • If you have a concern about the quality of care you received.
  • If you have a concern about your medical care that needs to be taken care of right away.

Click on the link below for the phone number for your state. These services are free for people who have Medicare. 

Kepro Telephone Numbers

 healthy aging month

september is healthy aging month

The focus of September's Healthy Aging Month is to inspire adults to improve their overall health and well-being. And there are many resources to help you do just that. 

Take a look at our Healthy Aging page for details.

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We hope you are finding this information useful. If you are, please consider sharing with your friends. This is the perfect time to sign up because next month will include information about Medicare Open Enrollment, which happens from October 15 to December 7.

Each issue includes information about the month’s health observance (this month is Healthy Aging Month) and information you can use to make the most of it, news from Medicare, and other information related to people who have Medicare (e.g., helpful telephone numbers and using your Medicare benefits).

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news from medicare

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medicare news: your medicare card and medicare open enrollment

medicare open enrollment
Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15 through December 7. Our next newsletter issue will include detailed information about Medicare Open Enrollment. If you don't receive the newsletter - On the Healthcare Front - in your email inbox, sign up for free.

your medicare card

Your card has a Medicare number that’s unique to you. It is important to know that it is no longer your Social Security number. This change helps prevent fraud, fight identity theft, and keep taxpayer dollars safe.

If your Medicare card is lost or damaged, you can order another official copy. By calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), your replacement card can be sent in the mail. Another option is to print a copy at home. You can log into (or create) a secure Medicare account to print your card.

Recently, letters were sent to people with Medicare who may have been affected by a data breach (May 2023). About 47,000 Medicare cards with new Medicare numbers were given to those who were impacted.

Learn more about Your Medicare Card

medicare open enrollment

Our next newsletter issue will include detailed information about Medicare Open Enrollment. If you don't receive the newsletter,– “On the Healthcare Front” in your email inbox, you can sign up to receive it for free.

Every year, Medicare’s Open Enrollment period is from October 15 through December 7.

During this time, changes can be made to Medicare health and drug plans including things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in network. If you’ve been looking to change your Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet your needs, it’s almost the time to get involved!

Information for next year’s plans will be available beginning in October 2023.

In the meantime, listen to our podcast that talks about things to consider during Open Enrollment: State Health Insurance Assistance Program Organizations and Medicare Open Enrollment

immediate advocacy services: a free service from kepro that helped dorothy when she couldn't get her prescription refilled

woman sitting looking at a pill bottle
Dorothy needed to have her prescription refilled but couldn't get a hold of her doctor. She wasn't sure about her next step. 

Immediate Advocacy is a free service for people with Medicare. It is used to help people quickly resolve problems about medical care or services. Immediate Advocacy often involves Kepro calling a healthcare provider or facility on behalf of the patient.

Dorothy was running errands. On this particular day, she needed to stop at the pharmacy to pick up her prescription. After a short wait, she was told that her prescription wasn’t ready. In fact, the prescription needed a renewal from her doctor. The pharmacist tried to call the doctor’s office multiple times, but the line was always busy. She suggested that Dorothy try to call herself, and maybe she would have better luck.

Unfortunately, Dorothy had about the same luck as the pharmacist did. She couldn’t get through to the doctor’s office. This caused Dorothy to become very concerned. She really couldn’t wait for a refill because she was running low on her medication. Dorothy remembered a call she made to Kepro in the past about a hospital discharge appeal for her husband. She thought maybe Kepro could help in this situation as well since Kepro promotes quality of care. She decided to give Kepro a call.

She explained to the nurse at Kepro that she needed help communicating with her doctor’s office because it was impossible to get anyone on the phone. The Kepro nurse talked with Dorothy about Kepro’s Immediate Advocacy services, which could take care of Dorothy’s situation right away.

Not surprisingly, Kepro experienced the same thing, a constant busy signal, just like the pharmacist and Dorothy had. But with some determination, the Kepro nurse did get through to the doctor’s office, and she was able to speak to someone about getting the needed prescription renewed, to ensure that Dorothy would not run out of medication.

Another medical issue was solved with Immediate Advocacy!

The next time Dorothy visited her doctor (just a few months later for her yearly visit) and the doctor asked if there were any concerns, Dorothy mentioned what happened about the prescription. The doctor said that she knew the phone lines tended to be busy but didn’t realize how busy. She said that she would speak with the office coordinator about making improvements to make it easier for patients to communicate with the office. She also let Dorothy know about the patient portal (see the link below for information about patient portals), which she could use to send non-urgent messages to the office about things like prescriptions and appointments. Dorothy said that she wasn’t confident with using computers but was sure she could ask her grandson about how to access the patient portal.

Immediate Advocacy services not only helped Dorothy with her situation with her prescription, but they also helped the doctor’s office to become aware of what was happening in their front office, so they could make the necessary improvements for their patients.

More information

Learn about patient portals: Have you accessed your patient portal?

Learn more about this free service from Kepro: Immediate Advocacy Services 

Medicare drug coverage: Drug Coverage (Part D) 

If you need help with your Part D prescription drug coverage, visit our Part D coverage resources that include prescription assistance programs.

Publication No. RI146810-316-9/2023. This material was prepared by Kepro, a Medicare Quality Improvement Organization under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. 

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