Need help with Medicare? The SHICK program can help

Submitted by Teresa Hatfield

Medicare can be difficult and confusing to understand, but it is often hard to know who to turn to for unbiased information. The SHICK program can be a resource for unanswered questions. SHICK stands for Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas, part of the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) across the U.S. SHICK provides free, unbiased, confidential counseling from trained community counselors. SHICK provides the information you need to make informed decisions about your Medicare options. SHICK counselors are not licensed insurance agents, they do not offer legal advice and will not recommend any insurance product. 

As your Family and Community Wellness Agent, I am a trained SHICK counselor and have been working with Medicare since 2006. I’m here to help you. If you are new to Medicare and don’t understand the array of options, the difference between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, or just need to know the basics, we can work together to give you the understanding you need. If you are currently on Medicare and have questions about claims, or billing, and need help filing an appeal, SHICK can help. Please feel free to contact me about your Medicare questions.

You Might Qualify for Help in Paying for Your Medicare Costs

Many people don’t realize that there is help available to pay for some or all of your Medicare premiums, co-pays and co-insurance. There are two programs that help pay for these costs.

The first program is the Extra Help program through the Social Security Administration, which can help reduce your prescription drug costs. You may be eligible if your income is less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level, have limited resources, such as money in bank accounts, stocks, bonds or IRAs.

If you qualify, Medicare will pay for 75 percent or more of your prescription drug costs, and you will receive help paying for premiums, deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance. The program will also eliminate the coverage gap and any late enrollment penalty.

To apply, visit the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov or contact the Meadowlark Extension District if you need help completing the application.

The second program is the Medicare Savings Program. The Medicare Savings Program also has income and asset guidelines. If you are eligible the Medicare Savings Program can help pay for the Part B premium and depending on your income and asset level may pay for co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles. Medicare Savings Program applications can be made to KanCare.

To apply, visit the KanCare website at https://cssp.kees.ks.gov/apspssp/.

Mail paper application to: KanCare Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 3599, Topeka, KS 66601.

FAX: 1-844-264-6285

If you have questions about either of these programs and their eligibility requirements, contact Teresa Hatfield with the Meadowlark Extension District at 785-3644125 or email at [email protected].

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