Senior Connections Senior Connections Dec. 2018 - Page 8

View COLA to SS online BRIAN RUDOLPH AND RHONDA WHITENACK Social Security Administration We are constantly expanding our online services to give you freedom and control when doing business with us. Our new online cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) notices are another example of our commitment in this area. Soon, you’ll be the fi rst to know your new benefi t amount. Later this year, we will post the Social Security COLA notices online for retirement, survivors, and disability benefi ciaries with a “my Social Security” account. The COLA announcement usually occurs in October, but fi nal benefi t amounts won’t be calculated and avail- able until December, when we send COLA notices that contain the benefi t amount for the next calendar year. These COLA notices will now be available to view and save via the Message Center inside my Social Security. The Message Center is a secure, convenient portal where you can receive sensitive communications we don’t send through email or text. This year, you will still receive your COLA notice by mail. In the future, you will be able to choose whether you receive your notice online instead of on paper. Online notices will not be available to representative payees, individuals with foreign mailing addresses, or those who pay higher Medicare premiums due to their income. We plan to expand the availability of COLA notices to additional online customers in the future. Remember, our services are always free of charge. No government agency or reputable company will solicit your personal information by email or request advanced fees for services in the form of wire transfers or gift cards. Avoid falling victim to fraudulent internet “phishing” schemes by not revealing personal information, selecting malicious links, or opening malicious attachments. You can learn more about the ways we protect your in- vestment, personal information, and my Social Security account at Be the fi rst to know. Sign up for, or log in to your per- sonal my Social Security account at https://www.ssa. gov/myaccount and choose email or text under “Mes- sage Center Preferences” to receive your COLA notice online. Review your Medicare plans ROBIN THOMPSON Senior Linkage Line Current Medicare Advantage and Cost Plans have changes, including cost-sharing, formulary, and provider changes. It is important that Medicare benefi ciaries review their plans and options to make sure that the plan they have for 2018 will work for them in 2019. There are many new plans in Minnesota for 2019, so reviewing options is more important than ever. In addition, there are some premium-free plans available. These may still have other cost-sharing, such as copays, deductibles, and coinsurance, so it is important to compare. Every Medicare benefi ciary who is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2019, will have a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2019. During this time, Medicare Advantage plan enrollees can change to another Medicare Advantage plan or disenroll from their plan and return to Original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Part D plan. Only one choice can be made during this time period. 8 Senior It is important to note that most Medicare benefi ciaries will not have a guaranteed issue period to purchase a Medigap during this time. This means they can be health screened and denied the purchase of a Medigap. The only group that will have Medigap guaranteed issue rights are Cost Plan enrollees affected by the ending of their plan; these rights extend only through March 4, 2019. To fi nd out more information, call the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800- 333-2433, or visit www. seniorlinkagelinecom. Connections December 2018 W ish it A w ay by C alling To day • Video Inspection & Location • Maintenance Agreements • Commercial, Residential, & Farm • Hydro Jetting • Environmentally Safe Products Call Genie Drain Cleaning today! Your drain and sewer specialists FAST, EFFECTIVE, SERVICE ������������������������������� (320) 587-4110 Senior Connections HJ.COM