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Medicare Made Easy

Posted October 02, 2013 in Community Web Exclusives

Questions about Medicare?  The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is a valuable service offering an important opportunity for people on Medicare to review and choose what coverage they want for 2014. Every year Medicare drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans can change their premiums, deductibles, co-payments., benefits and the drugs they cover. You could be surprised on January 1 if you stay with your current plan and find it doesn’t provide the coverage you want or need.

“SHIIP is a free, confidential, and objective service of the State of Iowa that helps Iowans make informed decisions about Medicare and other health coverage,” said Dick Michael, a SHIIP counselor.

Earlier this year, SHIIP announced that Friendship Haven has been named an official regional sponsor moving the office from the Unity Point Fort Dodge hospital location to Friendship Haven’s Tompkins Health Center. You can call 515-573-6764 to make an appointment with Dick Michael or Rick Maehl, SHIIP counselors at the Friendship Haven location. Maehl, from Fort Dodge, recently completed the extensive training program conducted by the State of Iowa Insurance Division. These volunteer counselors can assist you with Medicare Part D & MedicareAdvantage open enrollment  which is between October 15 – December 7 along with other health coverage-related questions.

In addition, additional SHIIP counselors will be available during an enrollment event on Nov. 7 and 8 at Tompkins Health Center. Three work stations will be set up on the first floor to accommodate one-hour appointments.

“We don’t want people on Medicare to miss their chance to choose a plan for next year or  end up in a plan that doesn’t work well for them,” Dick said. “We’re available to answer questions, and we encourage people to get in touch with us.”  Plans can change annually — a plan comparison may save money or reveal how you may qualify for extra help with drug costs.

SHIIP, the Senior Health Insurance Information Program, was created in 1990 in response to the statewide need for senior health insurance information. SHIIP provides free informational materials as well as one-to-one assistance with questions and problems related to Medicare benefits, Medicare supplement insurance, Medicare and insurance claims and other related issues. SHIIP does not recommend insurance companies, plans or agents; the volunteers answer questions and provide impartial information to help Iowans on Medicare make well-informed decisions.

For more information and an appointment on SHIIP services at Friendship Haven, 420 Kenyon Road, Fort Dodge, call 515-573-6764. For general information on SHIIP, log onto www.shiip.state.ia.us.

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SHIIP Coordinator for Friendship Haven, Steve Ehrhardt, may be contacted for more information at 515-573-6852.





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