Volunteers Help Make Medicare Open Enrollment Successful

Sarah Reiman, LSW, Volunteer Coordinator

Another successful Medicare Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) has ended. Thanks to the hard work and numerous hours donated by our Senior LinkAge Line® volunteers, approximately 60 volunteer-staffed enrollment events were held in southwest Minnesota. Because of these events, hundreds of people were provided in-person assistance with researching their Medicare plan options for 2017.

The assistance provided by our volunteers is often times life changing. This year at one of our open enrollment sites, a volunteer met with two different people over the age of 80 to review Medicare Part D plan options. Within two hours he had assisted both people in saving an average of $10,000 each on their medication costs for 2017. According to the volunteer, this was done, “…simply by enrolling them in a plan that fit their long lists of drugs.”. Another volunteer reported she was able to assist someone with enrolling in a new plan that would save them $18,000 next year.

Sometimes our success stories are profound and other times they are subtle. People often come to us feeling very stressed at the thought of having to deal with Medicare. At times, they simply need someone to provide them with simple explanations and reassurance. One volunteer worked with just such an individual. He had high medication costs and was working with his county Veteran Service Officer to apply for help through the Veterans Administration (VA). The volunteer provided him with encouragement to keep pursuing his eligibility for VA drug coverage and talked him through his other potential options. A couple of weeks after meeting with him, the beneficiary called to thank the volunteer for her assistance and reported that he is now able to get all his medications through the VA.

It’s stories like these that help keep our volunteers motivated and willing to dedicate extra hours each fall providing much needed assistance to Medicare beneficiaries in their communities. We are grateful to each and every one of them!

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer, contact:

Sarah Reiman, LSW, Volunteer Coordinator
1-800-333-2433 ext. 82026

Learn more about becoming a Volunteer.

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