With all the attention focused on the Affordable Care Act and healthcare.gov, health experts don't want seniors to get confused on a different web site entirely that they need to focus on - medicare.gov.
Medicare open enrollment runs through December 7th. Todd Lutz, director of Managed Care Services at Topeka's Stormont-Vail HealthCare, says people who already are on the program should take time review any changes to their plan that they may have received and review their needs to see if perhaps they might want to make a change.
People who are new to Medicare also should take time to study their options. Lutz says it is best to talk to an expert, whether that's a licensed insurance agent or a representative of the Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas, or SHICK, program. The service is available through area agencies on aging.
Lutz says the counselors can lead you through studying whether you might want to opt for traditional medicare, whether you might benefit from a supplement, or if you could opt for a Medicare Advantage program, where a private company covers your needs. Beyond that, people will want to explore a Part D program for prescription drug coverage.
Lutz says people then will need to study the plans themselves to see if their doctors and hospitals and medications are covered.
Lutz says he has been contacted by seniors concerned they'll have trouble because of all the attention over healthcare.gov and its problems. He says they're two different systems. He says the Affordable Care Act does not impact Medicare, so people who are on Medicare need not worry about the issues.
SHICK counselors for the Topeka area can be reached through the Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-798-1366. To locate offices in other areas of the state, click this link.
In addition, Stormont is participating in a Medicare Advantage program for the first time. It is through Coventry Total Care. People can find out information at sales seminars. They will be held at 10 am and 2 pm Nov. 8; 10 am and 2 pm Nov. 18; and 10 am Nov. 25. All meetings will be at the Pozez Education Ctr., 1505 SW 8th St. Call 785-233-1816 to reserve a seat.