One of services provided by the RSVP Community Outreach program is Medicare assistance and advocacy. Volunteers serve by assisting Medicare beneficiaries (both aged and disabled) in:
- Applying for federal Low-Income subsidy and the Arkansas Medicare Savings Programs;
- Problem solving snafus with Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) and private insurers;
- Choosing Medicare Part D prescription drug plans or Medicare Part C advantage plans;
- Counseling new Medicare beneficiaries about coverage and gaps and;
- Educating Medicare beneficiaries about the availability of free preventive health care services.
WestArk RSVP has a core group of volunteers who have been involved with Medicare advocacy for many years. Each year additional Medicare volunteers are recruited enabling WestArk RSVP to assist more Medicare beneficiaries. In partnership with the Arkansas Insurance Department, Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), RSVP members (serving as SHIIP Advocates) receive intensive annual training. Volunteers include retired nurses, teachers, business people and retired members of the military.
What type of help is available?
Low-Income Subsidy is available for those needing financial assistance to afford their prescription medication (income must be less than $1,505 a month for singles, $2,023 a month for couples). Assistance will be provided to complete electronic applications for federal Extra Help at ssa.gov. This assistance will pay many Medicare Part D premiums, reduce the co-pays and do away with the "donut hole".
Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) are joint Federal and State programs that provide needed financial assistance to Medicare beneficiaries with limited means with their Medicare Part B premium of $104.90 per month ($121.80 for those new to Medicare in 2016). Assistance will be provided to complete electronic applications for MSB on the Access Arkansas website. For those with the lowest incomes (income less than $980 a month for singles or $1,327 a month for couples) it will also pay to have their Medicare Part A and Part B deductible and co-payments met.
New Medicare Orientation will provide individualized options and information for those just starting to receive Medicare.
Information about Medicare Part D prescription drug plans or Medicare Part C advantage plans. Throughout the year, but most intensely during Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15th through December 7th) counseling and information from the Medicare.gov plan finder will be offered to Medicare beneficiaries to allow them to choose the most appropriate and economical insurance for the coming year.