GALVESTON — Although Medicare Advantage Plans can be a cost savings on health care costs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Systems realize there are limited providers who accept Medicare Advantage Plans.

A window to change advantage plans or to switch to original Medicare with a Part D plan until Feb. 14 is provided for this reason.

The Houston-Galveston Area Agency on Aging will be at the University of Texas Medical Branch Primary Care Pavilion, Senior Resource Library, 400 Harborside Drive, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to assist people with understanding Medicare and to shop Medicare Advantage Plans accepted by their providers and Part D plans with the help of Medicare’s database Internet site www.medi

“It is important for Medicare beneficiaries to save on health care costs but also to make sure their plans allow them to get the care they need,” said Curtis Cooper, manager of the Houston-Galveston Area Agency on Aging.

“Persons with Medicare should ask if all of their physicians and hospital accept their Medicare Advantage Plan and for both Advantage plans and Part D plans, make sure that all of their prescriptions are covered and at the lowest possible cost.

“The plan that is right for a person depends on their providers and their specific list of prescriptions.”

Providers such as UTMB are contracting with more advantage plans but currently only accept Aetna Medicare Select Plan (HMO) and Amerigroup Advantage Plan.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Medicare Advantage plans can be accepted as “out-of-network” at UTMB.

Medicare benefits counselors from the area agency on aging can also help people apply for Medicare assistance programs Extra Help and Medicare Savings Programs at the event at UTMB.

People with a monthly income below $1,436 or couples with a monthly income below $1,939 may qualify for assistance.

For those unable to attend, they can call 800-437-7396 for over-the-phone assistance.

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