Among other benefits, Medicare counselors can help the less knowledgeable understand the mechanics of the program, information that may be useful to, for example, participants who intend to appeal denials of coverage, according to California Health Advocates. These counselors can also help elucidate the nature of other forms of coverage that relate to the program, such as Medicare supplemental insurance or Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans.
The State Health Insurance Assistance program, of which the California Health Advocates is a part, provides benefits counseling services to Medicare beneficiaries and their families or other care providers, explains Seniors Resource Guide. Its counselor corps is composed of volunteers from local communities who've received training in health insurance counseling, Medicare eligibility and other related topics, notes California Department of Aging.
Program counselors answer questions, hold workshops and furnish other assistance to Medicare beneficiaries for free, informs Seniors Resource Guide. Some of the areas that these counselors can help elucidate are long-term care policies, retiree coverage and employment insurance, adds California Health Advocates. Other areas include prescription drug coverage and Medicare savings programs, notes the California Department of Aging. Counselors can also help their clients understand and compare different policies.
The program receives funding from state and federal agencies and is unaffiliated with the insurance industry, factors that help underpin its objectivity, states Seniors Resource Guide. Counseling services are available to everyone who qualifies for Medicare.