NRLN Continues to Monitor Coronavirus Issues

The NRLN is providing the following information on issues related to the Coronavirus pandemic. We hope you are following the Centers for Disease Control guidelines to protect your health.

Social Security: Your Social Security benefits will continue to be paid during the Coronavirus crisis. Be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping your Social Security payments but that is not true. Don’t be fooled. All local Social Security offices are closed to the public. Read the Social Security Administration press release to learn how to get help from the by phone and online.

Medicare: Scammers may use the Coronavirus pandemic as a opportunity to try to steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. The scammers might tell you they’ll send you a Coronavirus test, mask, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number or personal information. Be wary of these requests! Only give your Medicare number to participating Medicare pharmacists, primary and specialty care doctors or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf. Remember, Medicare will never call you to ask for or check your Medicare number. It’s important to always guard your Medicare card like a credit card and check your Medicare claims summary forms for errors. If you have not signed up for MyMedicare.gov you may want to go to MyMedicare.gov to register. MyMedicare.gov is Medicare’s free, secure, online service for managing personal information regarding Original Medicare benefits and services. After you create an account it can be used to check information about your coverage, enrollment status, and Medicare claims.

Tax Filing Deadline Extended: The Internal Service Revenue (IRS) has automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. Read IRS press release.

Medications for Extended Stays at Home: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reminded Medicare Part D plan sponsors that they have the option to relax their ‘refill too soon’ restrictions. This is part of efforts to ensure adequate access to medications during the Coronavirus pandemic. Suggest that if you need an emergency refill that you call your pharmacist in advance to make sure he knows about this option.

Telehealth Services: Seniors are allowed to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit risk of exposure and spread of the Coronavirus. Medicare will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries across the entire country. If you want Telehealth services, contact your doctor to get information on how to set up an access portal.

Resources for Veterans: Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing Coronavirus symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment.

Food Assistance: If you’re looking for help feeding yourself or your family, visit the Feeding America website to find a partner food bank, food pantry, or hot meal program.

Whole Foods Market Stores: Add Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada to the list of stores we sent earlier . Whole Foods will service customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public, under the new adjusted hours posted on the local store’s webpage. (For example: if a store’s new hours are 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., customers who are 60+ can shop starting at 8:00 a.m.) Click here to find your store. https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

Scam Alert: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips webpage to alert consumers to the proliferation of scam phone calls and texts related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Scammers are promoting bogus cures, offering fake test kits, sending hoax text messages, and generally preying on virus-related fears – stay informed and learn how to protect yourself from these scams.