Medicare Beneficiaries Saved Nearly $1 Million during Open Enrollment with Help from the Senior Health Insurance Information Program
Louisiana senior citizens and others on Medicare were able to save nearly $1 million with help from the Louisiana Department of Insurance Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). During the recent Open Enrollment Period SHIIP counselors aided more than 10,000 beneficiaries by reviewing their Medicare plan options and helping them choose a plan that best fits their needs.
“We realize that many folks on Medicare live on a tight budget, so we want to make sure that they select the best plan for them and help them use their Medicare coverage most effectively,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.
SHIIP is charged with providing Medicare beneficiaries with objective, free and unbiased information and counseling to help them better understand their options, rights and benefits.
While SHIIP is housed at the Louisiana Department of Insurance, the program has trained counselors across the state. Medicare beneficiaries can seek free in-person assistance from counselors in their community by accessing the SHIIP Partners interactive map online or by calling the Louisiana Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300.
Consumer Alert: Mental Health Help is Available
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, one in four adults has one or more diagnosable mental disorders.
“Mental health is a serious issue that can affect the way a person interacts with family, friends and in the work place. Despite the 25 percent of the general population that deals with this, it’s estimated that nearly half of people that are diagnosed aren’t getting the help they need,” said Commissioner Donelon. “There are resources available for folks that have insurance as well as those who are uninsured. If you or a loved one needs assistance finding these resources, I urge you to seek out help.”
There are many resources and hotlines that are available for those who need intervention. These include:
- Human resources departments. Some employers offer employee assistance programs (EAP) that include short-term counseling for employees and household members in a number of areas, including substance abuse and emotional distress.
- National hotlines. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can be reached at 877-SAMHSA (877-726-4727). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK (8255).
- Veterans assistance. Eligible veterans can access care through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs by calling 1-877-222-8387.
- Insurance companies. Your insurance company can provide a list of providers in your plan. Your primary doctor may be able to refer you to a mental health specialist.
The Affordable Care Act mandates coverage of mental health screening and substance use disorders by individual and small group health plans. Most plans must now cover preventative mental health services, like anxiety or depression screenings, at no cost. For those who are uninsured, a list of statewide resources is available on the Louisiana Department of Insurance at www.ldi.la.gov/healthuninsured.
Spring is a time of transition, when the weather can change swiftly. Don’t let this dangerous season catch you unaware.
Know Your Risk
Get ready for spring by knowing your risk factors:
- More than half of the total freshwater flood-related deaths each year result from motorists driving into floodwaters. It only takes 12 inches of water to carry off a small vehicle.
- Damage caused by rain, hail, lightning and tornadoes are generally covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy and an auto insurance policy’s “comprehensive” or “other than collision” coverage.
- Call your agent or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at 888-379-9531 and visit www.floodsmart.gov to learn more about flood insurance.
While the weather may be wild, you are not powerless. Prepare for spring hazards including tornadoes, floods, thunderstorm winds, hail, and lightning with these simple steps:
- You may have only minutes to find shelter before a tornado strikes. Practice a family tornado drill at least once a year.
- Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don't Drown®.
- Be sure you have adequate insurance coverage and deductibles that are reasonable for your needs.
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