The Caregiver’s Journey: Caregivers And Medicare Open Enrollment

I recently attended a Caregivers Conference in Albany. The room was filled with people of all ages, genders and races. It was interesting to see how many of the caregivers were under the age of 65 years old. As the Health Insurance Coordinator for the Office for the Aging and with Medicare Open Enrollment just around the corner, it made me question how all these younger caregivers were preparing to help their loved ones with the changes in their health insurance plans for 2018.

Open Enrollment is a very hectic and sometimes overwhelming time of the year for our seniors. Relying on a caregiver to help make decisions on what insurance may be the best for their loved ones can seem like an ominous task. Some caregivers may opt to not make any changes to their loved ones current coverage, not realizing that this may be a big mistake and may mean higher premiums and co-pays and possibly even lost coverage on some current benefits. Prescription drug benefits are also at risk for higher costs or lack of coverage. Each year insurance plans are allowed to make changes in how they cover medical, hospital and prescriptions. In 2018 there are many changes we see at the Office for the Aging through our Health Insurance Information and Assistance Program (HIICAP). Our New York state certified HIICAP counselors are trained to review all plans that are available and assist clients with providing unbiased information on these plans, allowing clients to make informed decisions when choosing a new plan or opting to remain with their current plan for 2018.

So, for caregivers, please do not overlook this annual opportunity to review your loved ones current plans or make changes to your loved ones insurance coverage for 2018. It is an important annual appointment you do not want to miss. It could mean cost savings and better benefits for your loved one. And the HIICAP counselors at the Office for the Aging are here to hold your hand and help you with guidance and information that will make this decision easier and less stressful on you and your loved one.

For more information on the Office for Aging’s Caregiver Program and the OFA’s Health Insurance Counseling program, contact our NY Connects Helpline at 753-4582.