Medicare enrollment assistance offered to seniors
Central Crossing Senior Center said it saved seniors $55,582 last year
Every year since 2008, the Central Crossing Senior Center has been offering free Medicare counseling to area seniors.
This year, the enrollment period is from Thursday through Dec. 7. During this time period, eligible seniors can review and make changes to their Medicare Part D and may change from Advantage plans to Medicare, or Medicare to Advantage plans.
Jeff Harp, chief publicity officer for Central Crossing Senior Center, said because plans often change each year, it is to a senior's benefit to review them annually. And, not changing plans when needed can cost seniors money.
"They may have thought they had coverage that was good but the insurance changes, and all of a sudden, they find out they're paying a whole lot more, so seniors should go in every year and get a checkup," he said. "For example, do you know if your current Part D provider has changed its drug costs, its premiums or deductibles? Medicare Part D has numerous changes, which you may not be aware of.
"Additionally, there is much to learn regarding the differences between Medicare and the various Advantage Plans available for next year."
All counselors at Central Crossing Senior Center are trained Centers for Medicare Services volunteers.
"They are not paid, and their services are totally unbiased," Harp said. "Their motivation is only to assist area seniors in choosing the best health plan available. Since the inception of this service, we've helped area seniors save over $235,000. Last year alone, the Medicare Services volunteers counseled 385 seniors and saved them a total of $55,582. These seniors will unanimously agree that it is important to have an independent unbiased review of your Medicare options."
Harp recalled one senior who saved over $7,000 a year after utilizing Medicare counseling.
"There are only so many volunteer counselors and limited time, so Central Crossing Senior Center urges you to set your appointment without delay," Harp said. "If you are newly-eligible, it is especially important to take advantage of this free counseling service. It's saving seniors a ton of money. The volunteers will show you the cheapest way to go and how to get the most coverage."
To utilize this free service, seniors can call 417-858-3456 to make an appointment. Counseling will last approximately one hour. The free service is available to seniors in Barry County.