The Barrington Area Council on Aging has trained Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselors to help older adults best navigate the Medicare system. The service is free for Medicare-eligible individuals.
“SHIP counselors sit down with older adults who want to better understand options and select plans that make the most sense based upon their healthcare needs,” said BACOA Social Services Coordinator and SHIP counselor Diane Vos Hansen. “Additionally, SHIP counselors help older adults select prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D.”
Last year, BACOA SHIP counselors helped nearly 100 clients save almost $150,000 on their medications by reviewing plans and recommending ways to save.
Older adults may also consider a federal voluntary managed care option called Medicare Medicaid Alignment Initiative (MMAI). Older adults qualifying for MMAI are those who are eligible for Medicare but also qualify for full Medicaid.
Under the MMAI program, individuals use a network of doctors, hospitals and providers and get drug coverage in a particular geographic area. The program requires each individual to have a primary care physician and care coordinator to help organize and streamline care.
“There’s an additional benefit to MMAI plans in that they may cover additional services such as transportation or vision coverage,” said Vos Hansen. “An individual may choose to go back to fee-for-service Medicare or Medicaid coverage at any time, but the MMAI program may be a good option for people qualifying for Medicaid.”
For those already enrolled in the MMAI program, BACOA SHIP counselors can also help older adults decide to keep, change or reconsider current plan coverage to ensure client needs are met.
To learn more about MMAI or to help select the Medicare option that’s best for you, contact BACOA at (847) 381-5030.