November 18, 2019
Opioid Epidemic Reaches Older
Adult Population
As discussed in our last Fraud Alert, the use of opioid drugs by older adults has grown significantly over the past decade and Medicare beneficiaries have among the highest and fastest growing rate of diagnosed opioid misuse. According to the Office of Inspector General, around 1 in 10 Medicare Part D beneficiaries received opioids in 2017, which is a total of roughly 4.9 million beneficiaries.

In early 2019, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) surveyed aging service providers on whether the opioid epidemic is changing services for older adults. More than 200 organizations participated in their survey. The NCOA found that these organizations' clients found financial hardship in dealing with the opioid epedmic and could not find safe alternatives to pain management. The results were published in the Medicare Messanger by Brandy Bauer from NCOA. You can find the results and read the rest of the article here.

The Illinois SMP has an opioid Tip Sheet in English and in Spanish.Please call the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions at (800)699-9043 if you or another Medicare beneficiary has been affected by this epidemic, and we can help put you in contact with services who can help.
Medicare Open Enrollment Ends
in Just a Few Weeks!
We are coming towards the end of Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)! The good people at Medicare Interactive, powered by the Medicare Rights Center, have wonderful tips for you to use over the course of the AEP.

Here are some tips from the Illinois SMP to help you out during the AEP:

1.     Annual Enrollment ends December 7. Make sure you make your choices soon if you have not yet!
2.      Review your current Medicare health and drug coverage. If you like your current plan, make sure nothing has changed with it before keeping it for another year!
3. Find your Local SHIP Counselor or call 1-800-Medicare if you need help choosing a plan.
4.    Be wary when insurance agents try to sell you one particular Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan. You have options, watch out for people trying to take advantage of you.

You can read more about these and other helpful tips  here at Medicare Interactive.

We hope these tips make it an easy time for all beneficiaries during this Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Again, if you need any help with your coverage, please remember to contact your local Illinois SHIP counselor. You can find them  here .
Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Travis Trumitch
Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area. If you would like to sign up to receive the Fraud Alert directly, visit click here.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0036, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
The Illinois SMP at AgeOptions partners with agencies across the state to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse through outreach, counseling, and education.

Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area and visit our website to sign up for our Fraud Alert email list.