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News / Clark County News

Expert help with Medicare available in Clark County

Annual enrollment period for seniors runs through Dec. 7

By Nika Bartoo-Smith, Columbian staff reporter
Published: October 16, 2022, 6:04am

This year’s Medicare annual enrollment period opened Saturday and runs through Dec. 7, giving residents who are 65 or older and qualify for Medicare a chance to sign up or change plans for the federal health insurance program.

In Clark County, 16.3 percent of the population is 65 years and older, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Recognizing that the process can cause confusion, the Community Health Plan of Washington — a not-for-profit organization that offers Apple Care, Medicare, and individual and family plans — is offering two free informational sessions in Vancouver to connect community members to Medicare experts.

“I would like the senior community and those Medicare eligible to understand that they’re not alone through this process of electing and reviewing their plan options,” said Brisa Guajardo, manager of business development and Medicare expert at the Community Health Plan of Washington.

The organization will host events at 11 a.m. Wednesday and at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 10, both at 5107 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., No. 111.

“The intent is to educate them and, if nothing else, really to bring them the answers to those questions that they have so that they can make a really informed decision for their coverage starting in 2023,” Guajardo said.

Guajardo recommends that during this enrollment period, not only should people who are not currently enrolled apply, but those enrolled in Medicare should review their annual notice of change and evaluate their own overall health to see if they have any additional needs.

She recommends exploring what plans are out there so each individual can find a plan that best suits his or her needs.

The Community Health Plan of Washington announced a new alternative treatments benefit package and a companionship program on Wednesday.

The alternative package allows up to 25 alternative medicine treatments, such as massage or acupuncture, depending on the plan.

The companionship program is a partnership with Papa Pals that offers recipients help with everyday tasks such as running errands or household chores and even just someone to come spend time with a person.

“We understand that each of our members has unique health needs and that those needs change throughout the course of their lives,” Caitlin Duffy, director of Medicare Outreach at the Community Health Plan of Washington, said in a press release. “That is why we are excited to launch these new unique benefits that go beyond traditional health care and address all aspects of one’s health — mental, emotional and physical.”

For more information on Medicare, including who is eligible and how to choose the right plan for you, visit medicare.chpw.org or medicare.gov.

Columbian staff reporter