March 2024

Save the MIPPA

Help us save the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Program

Millions of people can't afford their Medicare out-of-pocket costs. There are programs to help, but few people know about them or how to enroll. For 15 years, Congress has funded efforts to find and enroll low-income people with Medicare into these programs. This funding has been extended 11 times with bipartisan support and, in a recent Senate committee vote, it received unanimous bipartisan support once again. But now, the funding is blocked in the House.

Without this funding, an important tool will be taken away from trusted community-based organizations who help older adults. Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, Area Agencies on Aging, benefits enrollment centers, and Aging and Disability Resource Centers would be less able to help their communities—and may even have to lay off employees.

This funding would not raise costs. Instead of expanding benefits, MIPPA helps vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare receive the assistance they are already eligible for. That’s an urgent need since the end of the COVID Public Health Emergency protections pushed many low-income older adults off Medicaid, leaving them scrambling for support. It also helps State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs), area agencies on aging, such as Advantage Aging Solutions, and other community-based organizations find and support older adults in rural areas where large distances can make this work harder.

The work made possible by this funding doubled the number of low-income program enrollees over the past 15 years. That’s a major step toward healthy aging that would be out of reach if the funding is not renewed. Estimates indicate there are still 3 million eligible Medicare beneficiaries not receiving Extra Help to help pay their prescription drug costs.

To sign the petition, please click and fill out the pre-crafted letter to your members of Congress to help support this important cause. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Scams

How to keep yourself protected

New phones scams are on the rise and with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), scammers can clone your voice to use for later. Naturally, when you answer a call, you say, “hello?” or “is anyone there?”. What you don’t know is that a scammer may be recording your voice to use for later. According to, “scammers only need three seconds of audio to “clone” a person’s voice to use in scam calls”.

What is an AI voice scam?

AI (artificial intelligence) voice scams occur when scammers use AI software to record a person’s voice and then create a cloned version of that voice to use in a scam.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Fraudsters research victims online or on social media. Most AI voice scams are highly targeted. Cybercriminals look for information they can use about a victim’s family or friends via social media accounts or online sources.
  2. Next, they choose a voice to “clone.” The con artists find audio or video clips to use in their scam — often pulled from social media videos. If your family members are active online, they could be easy targets.
  3. The caller claims to be your friend or family member. Using AI voice cloning technology, they call and trick you into believing you’re talking with a loved one, like a grandchild.
  4. This next one is important. The scammer claims to be in trouble. They will often say there’s an emergency (such as a car accident). Sometimes, an accomplice may join the call to impersonate a third party, like a lawyer or police officer. The goal is to make you panic.
  5. Then they ask for money. As the scammers gain your trust — and create a sense of urgency — your “family member” asks for your help. Typically, they want you to send money, often through a gift card or wire transfer.

Be aware that the most common AI phone scams are:

- Fake Kidnapping

- Grandparent scam calls

- Fake celebrity endorsement videos

- Scammers cloning your voice to access accounts

- Calls from friends desperately needing money

Good News! There are ways to keep you and your family safe from these types of calls:

  • Create a family “safe word” to use on the phone. Choose a password or phrase that only your family members know. If the person on the other line doesn’t respond to the question correctly, you’ll know it’s an AI voice scam.
  • Make sure you contact your loved ones. By directly contacting the loved ones involved, you can confirm if the information you received over the phone is accurate and not a result of a potential phone scam.
  • Limit what you share on social media and online. Scammers can only use the information that’s available to them. The less videos, voice recordings, and information cybercriminals can find about you online, the harder it will be to target you with AI voice scams.
  • Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) on all accounts. Create strong, unique passwords for each account by combining letters, numbers, and special characters in order to make your passwords difficult to crack. Adding 2FA with facial recognition or an authenticator app makes hacking your accounts almost impossible.

For more information on how to identity a phone scammer, visit

Senior Medicare Patrol Part II:

How to Protect Yourself from Medicare Fraud and Abuse

Did you know that the best way to protect yourself from Medicare fraud and abuse is to prevent it before it happens? Though the following preventive steps are common sense, too few beneficiaries observe them.

Things You Can Do:

  • Ask questions when you see your doctor. You have the right to know and understand everything about your care, including how much it costs.
  • Keep a record of the dates of Medicare services you received. Obtain a free copy of My Health Care Tracker from your local SMP office or call 800-963-5337.

Review your Medicare Summary Notice (if you have Original Medicare Parts A and B) or your Evidence of Coverage (Medicare Advantage Plans) as soon as it arrives and compare it with what you wrote in My Health Care Tracker to ensure that you received the services or products listed, they were actually ordered by your doctor, and there was no duplicate billing.

Things You Should Do:

• Report any billing errors or questions to your medical provider’s office.

• Report any suspected fraud or abuse to your local SMP office (800-963-5337).

Things You Should Never Do:

  • Do not share your Medicare number with anyone except your medical provider. Period! Treat your Medicare card like a credit card.
  • Do not respond to any phone calls, texts, or emails asking for your Medicare number—even if you are offered free services or they claim to be from Medicare. Medicare will never call you unprompted and ask for your personal information.

How Your Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Can Help

Your local SMP is ready to provide you with the information you need to PROTECT yourself from Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse, DETECT potential fraud, errors, and abuse, and REPORT your concerns. SMPs use trained senior volunteers to help educate and empower fellow seniors in the fight against healthcare fraud. Your SMP can also assist you with your questions, concerns, or complaints about potential fraud and abuse you observe. It provides information and educational presentations, too.

To contact your local SHINE Senior Medicare Patrol Program:

Visit or call the Elder Helpline 866-467-4624

SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs in partnership with Advantage Aging Solutions.

SHINE provides free and unbiased health insurance counseling through a network of volunteers; empowering Florida seniors to make informed health choices.

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