Medicare Open Enrollment Tips for Counselors
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Medicare Open Enrollment Tips for Counselors

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October 2, 2012

Medicare open enrollment is just around the corner (Oct. 15-Dec. 7)! Whether you’re a person with Medicare, a caregiver, or professional helping clients to review their coverage options, we’ve got some helpful tips for you to keep in mind this season.

Tips for Counselors

1. Remind your clients that change can be a good thing. Many clients are reluctant to switch plans, believing that if their current plan covers all of their medications, it must be good. However, a little research can equal huge savings. Such was the case with Ralph, a 75-year-old Virginian with limited income who had drug coverage through a former employer that cost him more than $300 each month. Ralph’s counselor helped him to switch prescription plans and enroll in LIS, which ended up saving him $230 each month.

Tell clients that small savings can add up, and therefore it is important that they review their coverage options annually.

2. Use the opportunity to think holistically. If you encounter clients that are struggling to pay the costs of their health care, chances are they may also have trouble paying for food, rent, utilities, and more. Make clients aware of the range of programs that may be available to help them out. Find out who in your community can help with benefits program applications, and have referral information readily available.  You don’t have to do this alone. You can also encourage clients who are comfortable with the internet to use BenefitsCheckUp to conduct a free, confidential screening.

3. Take advantage of our resources. NCOA updates our counselor resources regularly. Some that may be particularly useful for open enrollment include:

All of our materials are for public use, so you’re welcome to copy and paste them to use with your staff, volunteers, and clients. Need a resource in a different format? Write to us, and we’ll be happy to send it to you.

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