Valuable Medicare counseling service for seniors has been preserved by Congress

(Reuters) - (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters)

Catherine Jones lives on $930 a month in Social Security benefits, so every dollar counts for the retired Detroit nurse. Her income is low enough to qualify for a special Medicare program that covers Part B premium copayments and deductibles, but last April, something went wrong. For some reason, Medicare started charging her $134 each month for Part B.

“I called the Social Security office and told them someone was taking my money,” said Jones, 67.

Problems like this occur frequently, the result of paperwork snafus between interlinked Medicare, Social Security and state government systems. Jones - a widow who is in remission from a serious bout with cancer - found herself stuck in a complex bureaucratic web, and the Part B deduction continued for 10 months. Ultimately, she found her way to the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, which was able to straighten out the paperwork; Jones will be receiving a refund from Social Security of $1,340.



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