Local resident Don Hewitt said his wife’s healthcare coverage is important to him.
“She still hasn’t gotten on Medicare, so that’s costly, because, right now, what she’s got in social security goes out in insurance,” said Hewitt.
That’s why he attended the “Medicare: In Plain English” workshop with her on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the Walkersville Public Library.
“It’s designed for seniors, who are on Medicare, so they understand what they have. [It’s] also for people who are going to be on Medicare, because there’s a lot of questions. There’s a lot of options out there, [and] they just have them better understand what they are getting themselves into, or what they are already involved with,” said Director of Financial Planning Services for Country Meadows Retirement Community, Eileen Kutzler.
To help them understand, several frequent concerns were discussed.
“The big thing is understanding the difference between being on traditional Medicare and being on a Medicare Advantage Plan. When you’re on a Medicare Advantage Plan, your coverage is still under Medicare, but it is being handled by an insurance company that is providing your care on behalf of Medicare,” said Kutzler.
“For one thing, you can only make changes to your Medicare once a year. That’s during the open enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. We’ve just passed that, but it’s important for you to understand what you have, and, if you anticipate to make a change, to do that at the appropriate time,” added Kutzler.
“I can say that, under the Affordable Care Act, that Medicare was largely left untouched for that by the consumer’s perspective. There were changes behind the scenes as it related to providers, hospitals and health networks. But for the consumer, it was pretty much left untouched, so I don’t anticipate there being any swift changes to Medicare,” said Kutzler.
Health officials say there are more than 57 million enrollees for Medicare in the United States, as of August 2016.