Gloria Jorgensen

Gloria Jorgensen

F

irst, we are very proud of your positive expressed opinion of our office. SHIIP was developed to assist the understanding of Medicare by those of us who utilize it. We also help beneficiaries in maintaining the most cost-effective Medicare prescription drug plan. 

In other words, we are here to help you.

The Jackson County SHIIP office opened in May of 2005. We have helped thousands of people living in and around Jackson County. 

Now we need your help. This is the first year our office will not be able to assist all who need our help. At this writing we are three weeks out from the end of Medicare open enrollment Dec. 7 and all our appointments are full. We are working 30 to 45 hours a week, and for the three of us volunteer SHIIP coordinators in the office, that is not enough. 

Our office has been able to maintain three volunteers each year, and the last two years one of our retired counselors  has been taking our phone call requests and done all the scheduling. This has been a godsend. Thank you, Carol. She has saved us many hours of telephone work. Two people we helped this year have offered to help next year with our phone calls. Thank you for your offer. We certainly need your help.

The last two years we have helped over 950 contacts each year during open enrollment and saved these contacts more than $300,000 dollars total. 

Today I would like to move someone reading this editorial to visualize themselves helping us help you. 

Question: Are you able to share some of your time to assist others? Do you have some computer skills? I am offering to help others know how to evaluate the drug plans. 

Question: What do we look at to help someone save on their prescription medications? If you are even a little computer savvy you can learn what to look for. 

Our educators at the Iowa Insurance Division are very knowledgeable and do a great job of educating us and they are always there for us. Counseling is also very gratifying, plus it gives us the education to help ourselves understand and navigate Medicare. 

Jackson County Regional Health Center has been fabulous in providing us with the means to help all. My plea is help us help others. Call us at 563-652-4000 and leave your name and phone number if you can help us.

— Gloria Jorgensen lives in Maquoketa. She has been volunteering her time with the Seniors Health Insurance Information Program for numerous years and is an elected official on the Jackson County Regional Health Center Board of Trustees. The Iowa Insurance Division’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program offers free, unbiased, confidential assistance to Iowa residents.

 

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7

Open enrollment is under way through Dec. 7 for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. the Iowa Insurance Division’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is available to offer free, unbiased and confidential assistance to Iowans.

“Iowans have four new Part D drug plans available to them in 2020 and many new Medicare Advantage options,” Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said. “Medicare can be very confusing, and I encourage any Iowans eligible for Medicare as well as caregivers to reach out to our SHIIP team for assistance before the open enrollment window closes on Dec. 7.”

Iowans may make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan during open enrollment, which began October 15. Iowans that miss the open enrollment deadline most likely would have to wait a full year before making changes to their plan.

“We expect to see a high percentage of the people saving money by changing plans for 2020,” SHIIP Director Kris Gross added. “Last year SHIIP helped Iowans save over $32 million by comparing Medicare Part D plans for Iowans”

SHIIP reminds Iowans to do three important things during Medicare open enrollment:

Review your plan notice. Read any notices from your Medicare plan about changes for next year - especially your “Annual Notice of Change” letter. Review your plan’s information to make sure the prescriptions you use are still covered and your medical providers and pharmacy are still in network.

Think about what matters most to you. Medicare health and drug plans change each year and so can your health needs. Does your current plan best meet your needs?

Shop for the plans that meet your needs and fit your budget. Compare plans even if you’ve been satisfied with your current plan. The coverage and costs for plans can change from year to year.

SHIIP is a free, confidential service of the State of Iowa. SHIIP counselors review all plans offered and do not promote any particular plan or company. The Jackson County SHIIP Office is located in Jackson County Regional Health Center or by calling 563-652-4000.