Who is the National Council on Aging (NCOA)?

NCOA is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. For nearly 70 years, we have made improving the lives of older adults our passion and our mission.

We created the Age Well Planner to make it easier for people to age with confidence by providing information, resources, and referrals on topics such as Medicare, health and wellness, and finances.

What do you do with the  information I share on this website?

We respect that privacy and security are important to you. They are important to us as well. As described in detail in our Privacy Policy, we may collect and use information about you from your use of the website in the following ways:

  • We collect information about your use of the website, which does not contain your name or other personal information, in order to analyze and improve the usefulness of our website.
  • We may share this non-personal information with our business partners to improve our service to you and others.
  • We may collect Personal Information about you including contact, demographic, health, or financial information that you chose to disclose on the website in order to provide you with information about Medicare coverage, estimated costs, access to benefits and services, or annuities.
  • We may combine, in a way that is not identifiable to you, your personal information with information from other users to create aggregate data that we may disclose to others for advocacy activities and other purposes.
  • We may provide certain third-party contractors technical access to your Personal Information in the course of providing products or services to us, such as hosting the website, but we require these parties to maintain the confidentiality of your Personal Information.

Please read the full Privacy Policy for a more detailed description of how we collect and use information about you. 

How do I know if I am the victim of a scam?

The National Council on Aging or the My Medicare Matters team will NEVER reach out to you by text, email, phone, or social media message to ask you for your personal information or money.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam that is targeting seniors, you can visit the National Adult Protective Services Association to learn how to report the scam and get help. You can also submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

How can I apply to receive help paying for food (SNAP)?

NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp® is the nation’s most comprehensive free, online service to screen for benefits. Learn about SNAP at benefitscheckup.org/resources/snap/ or complete a full screening at BenefitsCheckUp.org.

Can you help me enroll in Medicare?

You can get free professional counseling from one of our trusted Medicare agency partners that meet our rigorous Standards of Excellence. Simply complete Our Get Connected assessment and then opt-in to get started. Our agency partners' services are free to you. Our partners represent many different carriers and many different plans. They are paid directly by the carrier if you enroll in a plan and are not compensated based on the product you choose.

We also encourage you to contact your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free, unbiased, federally funded Medicare counseling from a trained staff member or volunteer.

Can I talk to someone about my Medicare plan choices?

Yes. We partner with licensed Medicare agency partners that can help you understand your Medicare options at no cost to you.Simply complete our Our Get Connected assessment and then opt-in to get started.

When is Medicare open enrollment?

Open enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. You can learn more in our Guide to Medicare Open Enrollment.

Who can enroll in a plan during open enrollment?

Anyone who is currently receiving Medicare, or who is aging into Medicare can enroll in or switch to a different Medicare plan during open enrollment. This is a great opportunity for everyone on Medicare to evaluate their situation and make sure that they are enrolled in a plan that best meets their health, finances, and other personal considerations.

How do I know if I am the victim of a scam?

The National Council on Aging or the My Medicare Matters team will NEVER reach out to you by text, email, phone, or social media message to ask you for your personal information or money.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam that is targeting seniors, you can visit the National Adult Protective Services Association to learn how to report the scam and get help. You can also submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

How do I get assistance beyond Medicare?

Use NCOA's free online service to see if you're eligible for benefits to pay for food, medicine, rent, and other daily expenses. BenefitsCheckUp® screens for more than 2,500 public and private programs available to older adults.

How do I get a new Medicare card?

If you lose your Medicare card, a new one can be requested either online or by telephone:

  • Request a replacement card on your account on mymedicare.gov or
  • Request a replacement card on your Social Security account, or
  • Call Social Security’s hotline at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users, call 1-800-325-0778).

Social Security will mail a new card in about 30 days. If proof is needed sooner, let Social Security know and they can provide support until a replacement card is issued.

How do I avoid a Part D penalty?

If you do not sign up for a Medicare Part D drug plan when you are first eligible for Medicare (and do not have other creditable coverage) you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you enroll later. Generally, an enrollment is considered late if you do not join within three months after first getting Medicare Part A or Part B.

More information on the penalty and how to avoid it is available in our article, Understanding the Medicare Late Enrollment Penalty.

Does Medicare cover a COVID-19 test?

Medicare Part B covers COVID-19 testing and the associated provider visit with no out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Part A covers all medically necessary hospitalizations related to COVID-19. Standard coverage rules and cost-sharing apply.

Medicare will also waive the three-day prior hospital stay before admittance to a skilled nursing facility during the COVID-19 emergency.

Part D covers prescription drugs used to treat COVID-19. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you have access to these same benefits. Medicare also covers COVID-19 antibody tests.

More information is available on Medicare.gov’s COVID-19 page.

Does Medicare cover the COVID-19 vaccine?

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines, and you will pay nothing for the vaccine. Be alert for scammers who try to sell you a vaccine, asks you to pay for early access to a vaccine, or asks you to share your Medicare Number to get the vaccine.