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.


Upcoming Training & Events

 State Health Insurance Program 10 Hour Refresher In-service

When : October 9 & 10, 2018

Time: 9 AM – 4 PM

Registration Packet 

SHIP 10 Hour Refresher In-service 2018

* 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


Things you Need to know

New Medicare Card Rolling out in April of 2018 

“The new Medicare card has a new“Medicare Number”

In 2015, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.   This law requires the removal of the social security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019.  This new initiative is referred to as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI.) A new randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the social security number.  When the initiative gets underway all Medicare beneficiaries will be assigned a new MBI and be sent a new Medicare card.

The primary goal of the initiative is to decrease Medicare beneficiaries’ vulnerability to identity theft by removing the social security number from their Medicare cards and replacing it with a new Medicare MBI which does not contain any other personal information.

Key information 

Starting April 2018, CMS will begin mailing new Medicare cards that include a new Medicare Number. The mailings will be staggered throughout the year,with completion expected by April 2019. The 2018 Medicare &You handbook will have information for you as well.

What you will need to prepare for are:

  • Make sure your mailing address is up to date. If your address needs to be corrected,contact;
  • Social Security at  t or 1-­‐800-­‐772-­‐1213.TTY user scan call 1-­800-­‐325-­‐0778.
  • Beware of anyone who contacts you about your new Medicare card. Social Security and Medicare will never ask you to give us personal or private information to get your new Medicare number and card.
  • Understand that mailing everyone a new card will take some time. Your card might arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.
  • Once you get your new card,destroy your old card and start using your new card right away
  • Protect yourself by making sure no one can get your personal information from your old Medicare card
  • Your new Medicare card will have a “Unique number” or “number that’s unique to you”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is readying a fraud prevention project that
removes Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft and safe guard taxpayer dollars.

  • Providers and people with Medicare will both be able to use secure look-­‐up options that will support quick access to Medicare numbers when they need them.
  • The new Medicare numbers won’t change Medicare benefits .People with Medicare may start using their new Medicare cards as soon as they get them.

The primary goal of the initiative is to decrease Medicare beneficiaries’ vulnerability to identity theft by removing the social security number from their Medicare cards and replacing it with a new Medicare MBI which does not contain any other personal information.

New Medicare Card



2019 Open Enrollment Medicare coverage  for Part D is in the fall of 2018, 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 2019, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment, assuming your current plan will still be available in 2019.
  • 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 2019

  • Be aware that your benefits and premium could be changing for 2019. 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 


Public Benefit Outreach Flyer

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