Answers for seniors on Medicare benefits

Open Medicare enrollment begins today and runs through Dec. 7.

Louisiana Answers website – medicare answersBoomers & Beyond

Making one’s way through the maze of Medicare benefits can be daunting for anyone but you don’t have to get stuck in the maze with no way out.

<a href="http://www.louisianaanswers.com/" target="_blank">Louisiana Answers</a>, through the Calcasieu Council on Aging, is providing a service to help seniors and others better understand their Medicare benefits for 2019. The service is free and open to the public.

Open Medicare enrollment begins today, Oct. 15, and runs through Friday, Dec. 7.

The Council on Aging can assist with Medicare enrollment or questions for those who call and make an appointment to visit their offices.

Appointments are required for open enrollment assistance.

Jacqueline Green, executive director of the Council on Aging, said there are several new Medicare plan providers in Calcasieu Parish for 2019.

The list of providers now includes: Aetna, Blue Advantage, Humana, People’s Health and Vantage.

Green said those who are enrolled in Medicare, as well as those planning to enroll, should be "very careful" if they are contacted by agents or brokers from any of the companies.

She said the companies have marketing guidelines that they have to follow, and that consumers should be careful when answering any questions or attending marketing events offered by the companies.

Green said providers may not use door-to-door solicitation, approach potential new Medicare participants in public places or engage in telephone solicitation.

Medicare recipients who are 60 years of age or older, as well as individuals who are ages 21 and older and have disabilities, can call the Council on Aging to set up an appointment for Medicare open enrollment.

Items that must be brought to your appointment include: Medicare card, insurance card, proof of household income and a list of medications that are being taken.

At your appointment, a senior health insurance information counselor will compare your Medicare plans and coverage benefits to help you make an informed decision on which plan could be the most beneficial.

Participants can also apply for programs that can help pay their Medicare Part B and Part D premiums.

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<em>For more information, call the Calcasieu Council on Aging at 337-474-2583.</em>