Consumer Information and Advocacy Organizations for Medicare Beneficiaries - dummies

Consumer Information and Advocacy Organizations for Medicare Beneficiaries

By Patricia Barry

Copyright © 2015 AARP

The following nonprofit organizations are leading sources of information on Medicare and act as advocates on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries within Congress and state legislatures. They want to hear about people’s firsthand experiences with Medicare, and they welcome volunteers to help their efforts.

  • AARP: AARP uses the power of its membership (more than 37 million members in 2015) to promote the interests of people age 50 and older. These interests include improving Medicare, preserving Social Security, and promoting legislation to achieve health insurance access for all Americans. A nonpartisan organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C., AARP has offices in every state (plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and advocates in Congress and all state legislatures. Through AARP Foundation, attorneys litigate court cases of special importance to older Americans.

  • The Center for Medicare Advocacy: This group promotes the interests of people on Medicare nationally and is staffed by policy experts, attorneys, researchers, and information specialists. Based in Connecticut with an office in Washington, D.C., the nonpartisan Center advocates to improve Medicare services and other health care rights, litigates court cases, and publishes policy documents and consumer information. It invites consumers to send in questions and responds to about 7,000 telephone and email inquiries each year.

    • Phone: 860-456-7790 (Connecticut); 202-293-5760 (Washington).

    • Note: You can read this site in Spanish by clicking the “Español” button at the top of the home page.

  • Families USA: This grass-roots nonpartisan organization advocates quality health care for all Americans from the consumer perspective. Based in Washington, D.C., it serves as a consumer watchdog on government actions related to health coverage. It also watchdogs the pharmaceutical industry and regularly publishes surveys of drug prices.

    • Phone: 202-628-3030

  • California Health Advocates (CHA): This group is the leading consumer watchdog organization for Californians on Medicare. Based in Sacramento with offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Santa Ana, CHA conducts public policy research and community outreach, promotes recommendations for improving Medicare services and rights at the federal and state level, and provides up-to-date consumer information on its website, including the free newsletter “California Medicare News.”

    • Phone: 916-231-5110 (Sacramento)