It’s a beautiful fall morning. You finish your morning coffee, read the newspaper and walk the dog through your favorite park before begrudgingly moving on to the piles of paperwork on your dining room table.
It’s Medicare season.
Whether you’ve been receiving Medicare for years or are a newcomer, the paperwork, constant changes and rules can be daunting. A great way to get through the confusion is to simply ask for help.
Get help with SHIP
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, SHIP, offers one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families. The SHIP program is offered through the Colorado Division of Insurance.
Through federal grants, SHIP sites provide free counseling and assistance via telephone and face-to-face interactive sessions, public education presentations and programs and media activities.
Colorado has seventeen local SHIP sites. University of Colorado Health’s Aspen Club is one of those sites. Aspen Club has been a SHIP site for 24 years. Its counselors provide personalized, objective assistance beyond what people can get through the Medicare help line.
Aspen Club’s counselors help both new and existing Medicare recipients. They advocate and offer support for recipients who may have filled out paperwork without seeking help and ended up in tough, costly situations. Aspen Club counselors also work with local businesses to help employees near retirement or who are over 65 and still working.
For those who would rather not seek one-on-one counseling, counselors offer a Medicare 101 class on a regular basis. This class is great for those who are new to Medicare.
“Without a light, it’s hard to find your way through a dark tunnel. That is what many feel like when making decisions about Medicare,” said Eileen Hendee, UCHealth Aspen Club Medicare coordinator. “Our trained Medicare counselors work tirelessly to make sure people in our community have objective and up-to-date answers for all their Medicare questions.”
Counselors offer free, objective help and resources for:
Understanding basic Medicare coverage.
Medicare Advantage Plans.
Medicare prescription drug plans.
Medicare and employer/retiree coverage.
Medicare appeal filing assistance.
In 2012, the Aspen Club counselors helped more than 3,500 people understand their Medicare benefits. Those who asked a counselor for help with their prescription drug plans collectively saved over $430,000 by making changes.
Asking for help can truly reduce your stress and let you enjoy all the good things about fall.
Medicare counseling doesn’t just save your bottom line, according to an Aspen Club survey, those who sought help also showed a significant decrease in stress after visiting with a counselor.
For more information about free Medicare counseling through UCHealth’s Aspen Club, please call 970.495.8560.
This blog was written by Nicole Caputo, marketing strategist for University of Colorado Health.