Free Counseling Available For Medicare Open Enrollment

Navigating the choices and options available for health insurance and Medicare can be a daunting task. For those needing assistance, personal counseling will be available in Highland County Wednesday, October 19th.  Amy Taylor, a Medicare counselor with Valley Program For Aging Services explained more.

“I work with the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program, and we are able to give insurance counseling to any member of the community at no charge. We help people compare drug plans; we help them understand coverage when they are new to Medicare; we help them make changes to plans during Medicare Open Enrollment. We do assist people as much as three months in advance of their Medicare starting, and of course, help people with plan changes during the Medicare Open Enrollment that are already on Medicare.

“Medicare has the change in contract period at January 1st of every year, and the time to make the changes is actually sooner, and that’s coming up next week. That starts October 15th and goes through December 7th, and during this time period, anyone can evaluate whether they would like to stay with their current Medicare Part D plan, or switch to another plan for the new year. The kinds of changes that people evaluate would be changes in premiums – changes also occur in deductibles. Another important point would be whether or not a particular medication is covered – one, is your medication covered next year, and two, what kind of price is the coverage going to be offered for the coming year.”

Those interested in counseling should bring the following items.

“To look over options, we need an accurate drug list. It can be a list from a doctor’s office stating the name of the medication, the dosage, and how often the person takes the medication. Some people go ahead and just gather up all their pill bottles, and they bring the actual containers of medicines in – either way works, as long as we have an accurate list of medications to work from. The other item that we need would be a person’s Medicare card, and that would be the card that has the red, white and blue stripe at the top. If we are to perform a change in Part D plan enrollment, we need information from the Medicare card in order to make that change.

“This is a fairly simple, streamlined process, to do a change in drug plans – we don’t need any kind of other medical history at all involved with that.

“if you would like to talk face-to-face with a Medicare insurance counselor for help in choosing a Part D plan, we will be at the Highland County Public Library on Wednesday, October 19th, from 1:00 – 3:00. There’s no charge for our assistance – we do gratefully accept donations, since we are a non-profit organization, and all donations stay right here locally, and help to continue this program, so that we can keep giving unbiased assistance to people. And the heart of what we’re doing is to help people save money on prescription drug costs.

“The phone number that you can call if you need more information would be 540-468-2178.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Current Weather