Where can I get more help?

The Medicare drug benefit can be complex and confusing, and it’s even more so for those with special needs like people with cancer. There are many places you can go for help. Here’s a list of sources within the federal government that can answer your questions. We also give you a list of outside organizations and how to find the SHIP office in your state.

Federal government sources for help

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
Toll-free number: 1-800-677-1116
Websites: www.n4a.org and www.eldercare.gov

    Has a useful questions and answers section online about the prescription drug benefit and contact info for your local office on aging

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Toll-free number: 1-800-633-4227 (1-800-MEDICARE)
TTY: 1-877-486-2048
Website: www.cms.hhs.gov

    For complete, up-to-date Medicare information, including fact sheets, handouts, regional maps, and general Medicaid information

Website: www.medicare.gov

    Official US government site for people with Medicare. Has complete information on the Part D prescription drug benefit and easy-to-use tools to help you figure out which plans are best for you.

State Health Departments
To find your state health department to apply for Medicaid or Extra Help in your state or county, check your local government phone listings, or:

    Call the Department of Health and Human Services’ toll-free number: 1-877-696-6775; you’ll be asked to enter your area code to be connected to your state, or visit the DHHS Office of Family Assistance website below and select your state:

Social Security Administration (SSA)
Toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213
TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Website: www.socialsecurity.gov

    Has information on benefit eligibility and on getting Extra Help to pay for Medicare drug coverage

Other resources

Toll-free number: 1-888-687-2277 (1-888-OUR-AARP)
Website: www.aarp.org

    Has free information on many topics, including Medicare prescription coverage

Website: www.benefitscheckup.org

    Sponsored by the National Council on Aging, this website helps people with Medicare and other older adults learn about and enroll in government benefits, including Medicare Part D and applying for Extra Help

Medicare Rights Center

Website: www.medicarerights.org

Offers information and resources online to help older people and people with disabilities to access affordable health care. 

Medicare Today
Website: www.medicaretoday.org

    Offers information and resources online to help Medicare beneficiaries get the greatest value from their Medicare benefits

National Council on Aging
Toll-free number: 1-800-424-9046
Website: www.ncoa.org
Website with information on Medicare Part D: www.mymedicarematters.org

    Helps seniors find jobs, access benefits, improve their health, live independently, and stay active in their communities

State Health Insurance Assistance Programs

For more information, call 1-800-633-4227 (1-800-MEDICARE) or contact your state health insurance assistance program (SHIP). SHIP has counselors in every state and some territories who are available to provide free one-on-one help with your Medicare questions or problems. Most offices are open only during daytime business hours.

To get contact information for the SHIP in your state, go to the State Health Insurance Assistance Program website at www.shiptacenter.org or call us at 1-800-227-2345.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: January 22, 2014 Last Revised: January 23, 2014

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.