During COVID-19, Groups provide Medicare guidance for Senior Citizens

During the current pandemic, Amistad’s Aging, Disability & Transportation Resource Center of El Paso and Far West Texas (ADTRC) is focusing on the importance of El Paso area senior citizens having the appropriate health care coverage.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 8 out of 10 deaths from COVID-19 reported in the US have been among adults age 65 or older.

Amistad’s ADTRC provides help for seniors to reevaluate their coverage now, before Medicare open enrollment begins.

“We know that many of our senior citizens are often worried about their health already, but the coronavirus is now adding another layer of concern for many,” said Zaide Echegoyen, ADTRC program manager at Amistad.

“This program is designed to help take away some of that stress by providing people with the guidance they need to get the right coverage, and some peace of mind,” Echegoyen added. “Our team knows that the application process can seem daunting at times, which is why we have ADTRC resource coaches available to help our older friends, neighbors, family, and even our parents navigate the system.”

The ADTRC offers assistance to El Paso area residents under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA). This funding is provided by the Health and Human Services Commission to help older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers apply for special assistance through Medicare.

MIPPA resource coaches provide outreach and education, as well as one-on-one assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers regarding Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D, including Low Income Subsidy (LIS) and Medicare Savings Programs (MSP).

These Medicare special assistance programs can help beneficiaries significantly reduce their medical costs:

  • Low-Income Subsidy (Part D benefit) provides financial assistance known as Extra Help to those with limited income and assets.
  • If eligible for Extra Help, Part D premiums, deductibles, and copayments can be eliminated or significantly reduced.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and resources and those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid may qualify for extra help paying their Part B and Part D premium.

Officials add that, Even though the Medicare open enrollment period runs October 15 through December 7 for coverage changes that will become effective in January 2021, Amistad’s ADTRC suggests that seniors start to explore their options now. This will help ensure that they have the time they need to work with a resource coach to apply for Medicare special assistance programs and make their enrollment decisions based on their eligibility.

For more information, visit Amistad’s ADTRC website.