If you're near or over age 65, Medicare benefits are an important part of your life. Part A, B, C, and D are all included in your overall Medicare coverage, and that's the good news. The challenge is that these "parts" have many options, and knowing it all, and what will work best for you, could be very confusing.
That's where RSVP Colorado West, Inc. has trained counselors ready to step in to help. RSVP is offering SHIP (Senior Help Insurance Assistance) Medicare counseling for seniors at no charge.
RSVP has several trained Medicare counselors through the SHIP program. You may have met Mabel Risch and Judy Dietrich at recent public sessions in Delta and Montrose, as they offered information on changes this year in Medicare. There are no more public meetings for 2012, but these ladies are offering one-on-one counseling sessions in Delta and Montrose during the open enrollment period for Medicare which runs Oct. 15 - Dec. 7.
"It's time to compare plans, and make sure you have the right health and prescription drug coverage for you," Risch said. "Stay with your current plan if you're happy with it. Or look for a new one with better coverage, higher quality and lower cost."
Dietrich remembers that many people came in last year "overwhelmed and confused" with all the Medicare information and options. "Our goal is to help them understand and give them as much information as possible before they make a decision. We also help them relax! We've heard from many people we've met that it has been reassuring to know someone is on their side!"
Even for those who currently have plans, RSVP's counselors are trained on the new changes and updates in Medicare this year, so it still may be to their advantage to sit down with a counselor for a review.
Appointments with a counselor are available most weekdays in Montrose at the RSVP office, 121 N. Park Avenue. Delta appointments are available on Thursdays only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Delta Library, 6th and Palmer, from Oct. 25 – Dec. 6. Walk-in appointments are not available. To schedule an appointment in Delta or Montrose, contact RSVP at 249-9639. Or call from anywhere, toll-free, at 1-888-696-7213.
Colorado West RSVP's counselors helped 760 people navigate the sometimes turbulent Medicare waters during last year's enrollment period. Their goal is for 800 "helps" this year.
It's important for seniors to make appointments early, Dietrich said. "We've had people coming in before at the last minute trying to figure it all out." RSVP counselors may also help save seniors money by researching alternative forms to pay their premiums and prescription drug costs, especially for those on limited incomes.
The Colorado SHIP program is celebrating its 20 year anniversary. SHIP provides free, unbiased, individualized information and counseling on Medicare and related insurances to seniors and the disabled. In the last eight years, SHIP has assisted more than 110,000 Colorado consumers, family members and community agency representatives. The SHIP program is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"Medicare has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, but SHIP counselors have been there to help Coloradans navigate each new set of changes to the system," said Alice Ierley, Colorado SHIP director.
The RSVP Colorado West counselors have been trained through the CMS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). They have attended training sessions to become a SHIP counselor.blog comments powered by Disqus