Well known playwright Tennessee Williams once said “You can be young without money, but you can't be old without it." So true at the time those words were spoken, and even more so today. Yet many older adults continue to waste their finite resources by paying more than they need to for health insurance and prescription drug plans.
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15th through December 7th each year. During this period, individuals can review their current health insurance and prescription drug coverage and make sure theirs is the best possible plan for their particular circumstances, and last year, the SEAGO Area Agency on Aging’s State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselors helped individuals across our four-county region save an impressive amount of money.
During the last Annual Enrollment Period, dedicated staff and volunteers with SEAGO’s SHIP program helped over 1,000 individuals with their Medicare coverage options. By reviewing individuals’ income, prescriptions and health needs, we were able to advise each one on the best plan for them, review their eligibility for financial assistance and helped them save a total of approximately $200,000 collectively. This averages out to over $200 annually per individual.
Even if an individual missed the Annual Enrollment Period, they may still save money on their Medicare coverage by letting SEAGO screen them for eligibility in the Low Income Subsidy program or the Medicare Savings Programs. The Medicare Part D Extra Help or Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program helps people with limited financial resources pay for their Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. If a person receives Medicare Part D Extra Help, they may pay a lower or no monthly premium, a lower or no initial deductible, have coverage in the Donut Hole or Coverage Gap, and pay very little for prescription drugs that are covered by their Medicare Part D plan.
To get answers to Medicare questions, or to see if you qualify for extra help paying for Medicare coverage, please feel free to give us a call. In Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties you can call the SEAGO SHIP program at 520-432-2528 ext. 222 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.