Public Benefits Outreach Program (PBO)

The Public Benefits Outreach (PBO) Project is a component of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., Area Agency on Aging, which serves 21 tribes in Arizona. PBO is a free health benefits education and counseling service for tribal elderly and people with disabilities. PBO works to educate, advocate, counsel, and empower elders and people with disabilities to make informed health care and benefits decisions. In addition, the PBO project trains volunteers on public benefits to counsel and advocate for elders and people with disabilities.The Public Benefits Outreach Project works closely with the Arizona State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) under the Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services.

How we can help

    • Determining what benefit one may be entitled to and guiding them through the process
    • Educating community members, elders, caregivers and people with disabilities about Public Benefits through community forums or one-on-one counseling
    • Appeals process with Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid
    • Educating community about Medicare fraud and abuse

Benefits Assistance:

  • Medicare
  • Part A (Hospital Insurance)
  • Part B (Medical Insurance)
  • Medicare Advantage
  • Medicare Drug Prescription Plan (Part D)
  • Medicaid (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System)
  • Social Security
  • Arizona Long Term Care System
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Other types of Health Insurance and Public Benefits

Tribal Benefits Counselors

  • Counselors are trained in Public Benefits to provide accurate, objective, and confidential counseling to clients.
  • PBO and counselors work together to provide counseling services and presentations in Tribal communities.

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Upcoming Training & Events

None

* For more information contact:

Stephanie Barehand, Public Benefits / Independent Living Support Specialist
Area Agency on Aging, Region 8
Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.
p:602.258.4822 | f: 602.258.4825
e:stephanie.barehand@itcaonline.com

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Things to know

2017 Open Enrollment Medicare coverage  for Part D is in the fall of 2016, from October 15 to December 7.

During this annual enrollment period (AEP) individuals can make changes to various aspects of your coverage.

  • You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
  • You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
  • And if you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.

If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must meet some basic criteria.

*If you are an American Indian /Alaskan Native and utilize Indian Health Services, You will need to know that Medicare Advantages plans are not accepted by your local IHS facility.

Auto-renewal is available

  • If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan and you don’t want to make changes to your coverage for 2017, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment, assuming your current plan will still be available in 2017.
  • If your plan is being discontinued and isn’t eligible for renewal, you would have received a non-renewal notice from your carrier prior to open enrollment. If you didn’t, it means you can keep your plan without doing anything during open enrollment.

Benefits and Premium changes for 2017

  • Be aware that your benefits and premium could be changing for 2017. So even if you’re confident that you want to keep your current coverage for the coming year, it’s important to make sure you understand any changes that may apply, and that you’ve double checked to make sure that your current plan is still the best available option. The available plans and what they cover changes from one year to the next, so even if the plan you have now was the best option when you shopped last year, it’s important to verify that again before you lock yourself in for another year.

* Medicare General Enrollment for Part A & Part B  is in January 1 – March 31 of every year 

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Press Release

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
For Immediate Release
Mark Hinkle, Acting Press Officer
press.office@ssa.gov

Social Security Announces 0.3 Percent Benefit Increase for 2017

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2017. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2016. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $127,200 from $118,500. Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov. For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

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