In just one day Mary Lee Arnold saved Medicare recipients over $12,000 through the Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas program. The SHICK volunteers work through open enrollment to help those in the Salina community who depend on Medicare. The SHICK volunteers are the BANK VI Heroes of the Week.
The volunteers go through training each year provided by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services Commission on Aging. This training allows them to help beneficiaries compare prescription drug plans, finding the best plan for the best price.
The Salina Senior Center and Kansas State Research and Extension partnered to make the service available at the Salina Senior Center.
According to a University spokesperson, “last year, SHICK volunteers and partners met with 908 people on Medicare in the Salina area, helping 317 find a plan that better suited their needs in 2017, and saving them $585,515 dollars over what they would have spent staying on their current plan.”
Sharon Zier has been a volunteering with SHICK for 12 years. In 2016 she logged more than 160 hours of SHICK work, meeting with 231 people over 14 days.
“Volunteers like Sharon are heroes to Medicare beneficiaries trying to make sound financial decisions about their health insurance so that they can make the best use of their resources.”
The volunteers spend two full days each week at the Senior Center, but many, like Arnold and Zier, put in extra hours outside of the Senior Center to help those who can’t make the trip.
“We love the program and use it every year,” said Dwight Zook. “We find out what we really need. It can be too much to understand once a year and these people know what they are talking about.”
Arnold said that most visits are simple but those beneficiaries who need extra financial help create more of a challenge.