Winter 2016

Medicare Rights’ Trusted Resource for Medicare Information is Better Than Ever
Medicare Rights recently launched the new and improved Medicare Interactive, a free online resource packed with hundreds of answers to Medicare questions. Last year, more than two million questions were answered on Medicare Interactive for people looking for information from the largest and most reliable independent Medicare resource.

The new design and features ensure that Medicare Interactive users can quickly find the Medicare answers they need for themselves, a family member, or the clients they serve. The new and improved site makes available smart links to relevant MI pages and case examples, a roll-over glossary, and other helpful resources.

By creating a free Medicare Interactive profile, users can bookmark their favorite pages, manage newsletter subscriptions, access free exclusive links/downloads, and receive notices about key Medicare dates.

As an initial thanks for registering, users will receive a welcome e-packet from Medicare Rights, complete with the organization’s exclusive New to Medicare Guide.

Additionally, the Medicare Interactive Pro (MI Pro) learning curriculum, which will evolve further in the coming months, is for people who want to dig deeper into Medicare. MI Pro subscribers can access exclusive in-depth Medicare content, quizzes to test their progress, and printable learning tools. Subscribers can also keep track of where they left off within each course and complete coursework at their own pace. Visitors can find out which courses are right for them by taking the free self-assessment.

Visit today and register for a free profile.

Remembering a Loved One
josephiena-imrMitra Behroozi, executive director of the 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds, has been a longtime donor to the Medicare Rights Center. Recently she suggested that her relatives, friends, and colleagues become supporters, too.

When Mitra’s 86-year-old mother Josephiena Sofia Behroozi passed away, she advised people who wanted to do something special to honor her mother to make a memorial contribution to Medicare Rights in her name.

“Our family discussed what would be the best way for people to remember our mother that reflected her values. It only took a minute to decide that making a memorial donation to Medicare Rights was the most fitting choice,” said Mitra.

Josephiena, a mother of three who had emigrated from Holland in her twenties and attended The New School, was a school teacher and later in life got her master’s degree in library science. Yet despite having an advanced education, Josephina had to turn to Mitra and one of her sons to help her manage her health care and navigate Medicare.

“My mother would often ask me ‘What do other people do to figure out their health care and insurance coverage, if they don’t have children like you who can help them?’” recalled Mitra, a renowned expert on healthcare and employment issues.

Mitra knew that older adults and people with disabilities who need answers to their Medicare questions call Medicare Rights’ helpline. That’s why her family chose that memorial donations be made to Medicare Rights in their mother’s name.

We are grateful to Mitra and all who honored Josephiena Sofia Behroozi with a memorial contribution to Medicare Rights.

Please consider suggesting a memorial gift be made to Medicare Rights in remembrance of your loved ones.

Donor Spotlight: Ilene Margolin
Ilene Margolin understands the need for Medicare counseling services and advocacy, having spent over four decades working in the health care and human services fields in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.

Ilene became familiar with the work of the Medicare Rights Center through her work in health insurance organizations, and then became a supporter of Medicare Rights in 2007, when she served as a senior vice president at EmblemHealth and helped to secure the company’s ongoing sponsorship of our Annual Awards Dinner. When Ilene retired from EmblemHealth in 2011, she remained committed to helping consumers with Medicare: Ilene became an individual donor to the Awards Dinner, as well as to our other fundraising efforts.

Ilene says she is “impressed” by the work Medicare Rights does to “help people on the ground” and appreciates “the complexity and scope” of our advocacy.

Ilene-imrShe knows that assisting our helpline callers “one-on-one makes a real difference for people” and, because our helpline calls inform our advocacy efforts, they “also help make systems changes.”

In fact, Ilene experienced firsthand the personal support that we provide, when we assisted her with an appeal that took many months but was ultimately successful. “Medicare Rights made a huge difference in my life,” Ilene says.

You too can make a real difference to older adults and people with disabilities who need help accessing affordable health care, by making a donation to the Medicare Rights Center today.

General Enrollment Period End on March 31
If you did not enroll in Medicare when you originally became eligible for it, you can sign up during the GEP, which is from January 1 through March 31 of every year. Your coverage will begin July 1 of the year you sign up. You will have to pay a Part B premium penalty for every year you delayed enrolling in Medicare Part B.
Program Update:
Report Highlights 2014 National Helpline Trends and Policy Solutions
trends-report-imageWith the release of the annual helpline trends report, Medicare Rights outlines the top concerns facing people with Medicare heard through thousands of calls to the national helpline.

The report, Medicare Trends and Recommendations: An Analysis of 2014 Call Data from the Medicare Rights Center’s National Helpline, includes an in-depth discussion of two important issues heard on Medicare Rights’ helpline. Each issue is accompanied by policy solutions, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), state agencies, insurers, elected officials, and others can pursue to improve the Medicare program for the more than 52 million people it serves.

Out of more than 17,000 questions posed in 2014 by older adults and people with disabilities, their family members, and the professionals serving them, two trends stood out:

Navigating Medicare Part B Enrollment: Many individuals who call Medicare Rights are confused by Medicare enrollment rules, and specifically by decision-making related to taking or declining Part B, which covers doctors’ and other services. Some have other coverage through an employer or the new state or federal Marketplace and need information about how that insurance may change because they are eligible for Medicare. While callers may be aware of the risk of late enrollment penalties, they may not realize that their former insurance may refuse to pay for care entirely once they are Medicare-eligible.

Navigating Part D Prescription Drug Appeals: Frequently, in addition to not knowing why their prescription drug was denied, callers are confused by the Part D appeals process, which they need to use to access their medications. They are often unsure as to whether their appeal has been filed, what level of appeal they are at, and what their doctors may have done on their behalf.

Drawing directly from Medicare Rights’ 25 years of experience serving people with Medicare and their families, the report includes a comprehensive set of policy recommendations intended to improve access to affordable health coverage for people with Medicare.
Among the recommendations regarding Part B enrollment and prescription drug appeals are:

  • Provide better education and notice for newly eligible beneficiaries.
  • Streamline and align enrollment periods.
  • Include the reason for a drug denial in the pharmacy counter notice.
  • Allow an immediate request for an appeal.

Visit to read the report.

Celebrating 50 Years of Medicare
On October 19, the Medicare Rights Center celebrated the 50th anniversary of Medicare with about 350 supporters at its 2015 Annual Awards Dinner.

Richard J. Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, and Nora Super, executive director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, were honored for their tireless efforts to increase access to affordable health care. Longtime volunteer Richard Loberfeld also received special recognition for his almost 12 years of dedicated service at Medicare Rights.

Photographer: Jeyhoun Allebaugh

event-room-shot-imrMandarin Oriental, New York City
event-staff-photo-imrMedicare Rights Center Staff (October 2015)
nora-super-imrNora Super, Executive Director,
2015 White House Conference on Aging
richar-pollack-imrRichard J. Pollack, President and CEO,
American Hospital Association
richard-imrJoe Baker, president, Medicare Rights Center and Richard Loberfeld, Volunteer, Medicare Rights Center
Thank you to all of the Medicare Rights Board of Directors and everyone who made a year-end donation to the Medicare Rights Center and contributed to our successful match campaign!
Beth Abbott
Adviser Investments
Jon Ahlbum
Alpern Family Foundation
Donna Ambrogi
Kay Anderson
Sayaka Araki
Deane Beebe
Mitra Behroozi
George Bennett
Robert A. Berenson
Leonard Berg
Jean Berman
John Bernard
Martha Bernard
Merton & Joan Bernstein
Laureve Blackstone
Peter Bohn
Diane Borko
Isabel Brach
David Brandt
Mr. & Mrs. Harold Brodbar
Joan Brown
Francine Brown
Bruce Burrows
Sandra Burson
John Campbell
Lynn Cardiff
Judith Cashman
Martin & Helene Celnick
Myoungil Cha
Ronald Chacey
Charles Chavez
Romy Chong
Charles Clarkson
Lorey G. Coe-Drake
Mary Coffman
Curtis Cole
James Collins
Virginia Contrino
Harold Copeland
Edith Cresmer
Bruce S. Cybul & Lisa Cristal
Patrick & Barbara Cullinane
Jennifer Cunningham
Robert & Geraldine R. Dallek
Liz Dangelo
Norman Daoust
Margaret Diaz-Cruz
Deborah Dinkelacker
Karin Dunn
David Ehlinger
Ken, Steve, & Joan Eiker
Benjamin Eilbott
Joan & Peter Eilbott
Esther Esteban
Sheila Ewall
Karen Fabiane
Rachel Feldman
Christina Fendley
Mel Fingerut
Robin Fitelson
Joseph Fitzgerald
Charles & Gail Flateman
Anna Francoeur
Leslie Fried
Harold Friedman
Amy Friedner
Regina Myer and Jeff Genshaft
Frank Gentilella
Diana Gerbauckas
Kevin Gillogly
Judy Glickman
GNYHA Ventures, Inc.
Judy Goldfarb
Abraham & Sigrid Goldman
David & Elaine Gould
Denise Grant
Martha Gray
M. J. Greene
Valerie Grey
Loretta P. Gross
Don Habermas-Scher
Bernard Hamilton
Linda Hammond
Mary Hanrahan
Elizabeth Hansen
Frank & Joyce Healy
Ernst K. & Roslyne Heimann
Vicki Hendricks
Blaine & Paula Hill
A. Robin and Tom Hill
Thomas Hiscox
Susan Hopper
John Hoyt
Gisa Indenbaum
Anthony Davis & Pamela Jarvis
Bernice Jee
Carrie Jessup
John A. Hartford Foundation
Lauren Johnson
Larry Katen
Steven & Marjorie Katz
Jennifer Kaufman
Helene Kendler
Susan Kent
Keith Kilty
Deborah King
Louis & Pauline Kislik
Madalyn Klein
Thomas Kline, MD
Esther Koch
Marc Kramer
Rachel Kreier
Nathan Laks
Per Landeck
Linda Lane-Weber
Nina & Tim Lannan
Rafael Lantigua
Marcia Lawther
League of Voluntary Hospital and Homes of New York
David Leiwant
Len Camber Charitable Trust
Thomas Leonard
Jed Levine
James Weikart & Dana D. Lichty
Evelyn Lieb
Barbara Logan
Andrea & Robert Lulkowski
Nina Lynch
James MacDonald
Elizabeth MacKenzie
Chris Madden
Brian Mahoney
Charla Mair
Carl Makower
Joel Mallory
Lincoln Marini
Irwin & Elaine Markow
Jackie Marquez
Pepper Marts
Diane Mason
Marc Mazur
Eileen McInerney
Wayne McKirdy
Carlene Meeker
Rob Mencher
Diane Merriam
Stacey Millman
Marco Minasso
Marie Mire
Arthur & Charlotte Moore
Judith E. Moreland
David & Carol Morse
Tricia Neuman
Nevin and Witt Insurance
Peter Newell
Linda Norelli
Warren Nystrom
Tim & Penny Oberg
Larry Olin
Organization of Staff Analysts
Evelyn Parnell
Wally Patawaran
Judith Pekowsky
Dolores Elanor Pepe
A. Perri
Michael Pfeifer
Ruth Pite
Brenda Pomerance
Nancy Potter
Helene Raidl
Dan Myers & Ruchel Ramos
Ann Rauch
Steve Regenstreif
Robert & Carolyn Rescino
Jacqueline B. Reynolds-Rush
Dennis Ritchie
RiverSpring Health
Janet Roberts
Marianne Robinson
Michael Rockman
Gerard Rohlf
Michael Rosenwasser
Marc William & Laura Salganik
Arlene E. Satz
Phillip Scarborough
Ingeborg Seemueller
Marcie L. Setlow
Bernice Silverman
Simon & Co.
Bruce Skyer
Dietrich Snell
Shoshanna Sofaer
Jim Sorrentino
Bernice Stein
Myrna Stephens
John & Faith Stern
Howard Stieglitz
Ann Strother
Richard Sundmacker
Rebecca Sunshine
Arthur Sutherland, MD
Pierre Taminiaux
Janice Hopkins Tanne
Texas American Agency
Stuart Thompson
Anne Tolbert
Bethene Trexel
Robert Tropiano
Suzanne Uchida
Judith Uman
Helen Vanty
Anne Vladeck
Scarlet Watts
Tom Watson
Robert Weiss
Wellcare Health Plans
Arne & Ruth Werchick
Hans Wiegert
Danette & Steve Wineberg
Margaret Woerner
Elaine Wohl
Barry Wolfson
Mike & Kathy Worsham
Dan & Carol Young
John Zimmerman
Marilyn Zweifach

Your Support

Our work is made possible by the support of people like you. To donate, visit

Join Us On

facebook twitter