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Learn More about Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, New Medicare Cards & Medicare Savings Pro

Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage – How does it work and what is the Medicare Plan Finder?

Do you want to get a better understanding of how Medicare Prescription Drug coverage (Part D) works for you or someone you are helping?  With the Part D open enrollment period fast approaching, now is a good time to learn more.  During Open Enrollment – October 15 through December 7 – you will have the opportunity to review, compare, and if you so decide, enroll in a new plan for 2019.

While 2019 plan details are not available until October, you can improve your general knowledge so that you are ready for your Part D review in the fall.  Howard County SHIP offers a series of public education presentations which can help you understand the process and be prepared to make an informed decision.  Here’s what you will learn:

Understanding Medicare’s Prescription Drug Coverage will help you understand how Part D plans are structured, and provide information about cost-sharing categories, types of restrictions, and pharmacy considerations, as well as benefit programs available to help with costs.

Using Medicare’s Plan Finder will teach you how to use this powerful tool, which is available at  The Plan Finder provides you with personalized calculations on all plans available to you based on your medications and pharmacy.  (If you are not familiar with the structure of Part D plans, please attend the “Understanding Medicare’s Prescription Drug Coverage” presentation first.)

In the box below, you will find the dates, times and locations of these presentations (registration is required).






 Aug 14 (Tu)

 1-2 pm

 Elkridge 50+ Center


 Aug 29 (Wed)

 10-11 am

 Ellicott City 50 + Center


 Sep 11 (Tu)

 1-2 pm

 Bain 50+ Center







 Aug 22 (Wed)

 1-2:30 pm

 Bain 50+ Center


 Sep 25 (Tu)

 7-8:30 pm

 Wellness Center, Howard County General Hosp.


New Medicare Cards

As we hope you are aware, all Medicare beneficiaries will receive new Medicare cards with unique numbers that do not include their Social Security number by April 2019.  Maryland Medicare beneficiaries were included in the first wave of this initiative and most have already received their new cards.  Below we share some tips regarding the new card, as well as what you should do if you have not yet received yours.

“What should I know now that I have my new Medicare card?”

  1. Start using your new Medicare card right away and destroy your old card.

  2. Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, or people you trust who are helping you with your Medicare needs.

  3. Know which card to carry with you:

  4. If you get your services through Original Medicare, carry your new card and show it to your health care providers when you need care.

  5. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare – you should still keep and use it whenever you need care.  Remember to put your Medicare card in a safe place for future reference.

  6. If you have other health insurance, such as an employer group health plan, make sure you know which card(s) you need to use.

  7. Doctors, other health care providers and facilities are prepared for the new cards.

  8. Include a copy of the new card with your ‘in case of emergency’ documents.

  9. You can print your own replacement card if you need one through your account.

“What if I have not received my new card?”  If you have not received your new card, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided the following information:

“Would you like to get your new card laminated?”

To help protect your new card, we are offering free lamination in September at the following times and locations.  These are walk-in events – no need to register.  We will also provide lamination at the 50+ Expo at Wilde Lake High School on Friday, October 19 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.





 Sep 11


 10 am – noon

 East Columbia 50+ Center 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia 21045

 Sep 12


 9-11 am

 Bain 50 + Center 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia, 21044

 Sep 13


 10 am – noon

 North Laurel 50+ Center 9411 Whiskey Bottom Rd, Laurel, 20723

 Sep 18


 9-11 am

 Ellicott City 50+ Center 9401 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City 21042

 Sep 26


 9-11 am

 Glenwood 50+ Center 2400 Route 97, Cooksville, 21723

 Sep 28


 10 am – noon

 Elkridge 50+ Center 6540 Washington Blvd, Elkridge 21075

Are you, or someone you know, under the age of 65 and have a disability?

Chances are Accessible Resource for Independence could be of assistance! Accessible Resources for Independence provides an array of services to people with disabilities to maximize their independence. Need help navigating community resources? Want to learn how to do something differently now that you have a disability? Trying to figure out how to return to work and if it is even possible? If these are questions you have had, give them a call; they may be able to support you in maximizing your independence! They can be reached at (410) 636-2274.


Many Medicare beneficiaries are missing out on programs that can assist with Medicare costs or allow them to change plans outside of the fall Open Enrollment Period.   Are you one of them?

There are four programs (listed below) which help cover the costs of Medicare (such as monthly premiums, deductibles and/or copays/coinsurance) with each program having its own benefits and eligibility criteria.  If you, a family member or anyone you know has an annual gross income less than $36,420 (individual) or $49,380 (couple) you may be eligible for at least one of these programs.  Since there are no deadlines for any of these program, you can apply at any time. Give us a call (410-313-7392) to set up an appointment to come in for a benefit program review and assistance with completing the applications.

 QMB (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary)

 Help with Part A and Part B costs

 SLMB (Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary)

 Help with Part B cost (monthly premium)

 Extra Help/LIS (Limited Income Subsidy)

 Help with Part D costs

 SPDAP (Maryland Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program)

 Help with Part D costs

To see more details, click here.

Howard County State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) 410-313-7392 (voice/relay)

For a list of our upcoming public education seminars click here.

To request this document in an alternative format or accommodations to participate in any of the events, contact Barbara Albert at 410-313-7391 (voice/relay) or at least one week in advance.

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