Medicare Savings Programs can reduce insurance costs for seniors

More than 2 million older Americans are receiving letters from the Social Security Administration about programs that could help pay their health care expenses. Recipients of these letters are likely eligible for Extra Help, a low-income subsidy program for Medicare Part D prescription benefits, or other Medicare Savings Programs.

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL) wants to reassure seniors that these letters from the Social Security Administration are legitimate. Recipients are encouraged to contact the SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program to determine if they are eligible and receive application assistance.

SHINE Medicare counselors provide free, unbiased, and personalized assistance with Medicare, Medicaid, prescription drug plans, and long-term care insurance. Offered locally through the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida, SHINE empowers seniors, their caregivers, and family members to make informed decisions about health care coverage. SHINE is a volunteer program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and part of the national SHIP Program.
“About 12 million people nationwide use one of these programs to help cover the costs of medications, copays, deductibles, and Medicare premiums,” explains Camilita Aldridge, SHINE Liaison with AAASWFL. “About 180 people in Glades and Hendry Counties will receive these letters. If you found one of these letters in your mailbox, SHINE may be able to help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your health care. With healthcare costs continuing to rise, these programs can be a lifeline for older adults with limited incomes.”

AAASWFL provides SHINE counseling services at locations across Southwest Florida. To make an appointment with a SHINE counselor, call AAASWFL’s toll-free Elder Helpline at 1-866-413-5337. A list of counseling sites can also be found on the SHINE website: www.floridashine.org.

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, and Sarasota Counties. AAASWFL is the state’s designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for Southwest Florida. The organization is committed to helping adults ages 60 and over and people with disabilities to live with independence and dignity in their own homes and communities. More information is available at www.aaaswfl.org or by calling the toll-free Helpline at 866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER).

The Caloosa Belle is published every Thursday.

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