Insurance Counseling

Medicare Questions?

You can find local assistance at 540-949-7141

If you have questions about your Medicare coverage, supplemental insurance, prescription drug plan, or government benefits to help with the costs, Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) is here to help! Insurance counseling is offered by appointment at the Waynesboro Senior Center and the Staunton Senior Center.  Home visits or phone counseling may be arranged for homebound older adults.

Counselors are state-certified through the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP), part of a nationwide network of health insurance assistance programs. VICAP counselors are not associated with any insurance company and do not sell insurance products.  They are here to provide unbiased and confidential information to help you make informed choices. Counselors are trained to assist older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers in understanding and comparing Medicare and other health insurance benefits.  Yearly training and recertification ensures the most up to date knowledge in changes to Medicare benefits, out of pocket costs, plan availability, enrollment information, and grievance procedures.

There is no charge for insurance counseling services.  Significant federal & state funding cuts have left the program severely underfunded, making VPAS the primary resource of funds to keep the program going.  VPAS is NOT a government agency but a non-profit, local board governed organization serving our growing population age 60 and over.  VPAS gratefully accepts donations for VICAP counseling to Pay it Forward, ensuring the insurance counseling service continues in the community.  Donations are tax deductible.

 

VICAP Counselors provide information on:

  • Medicare basics for persons newly enrolling in Medicare.
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).
  • Applying for extra help in paying for Part D premiums and drug costs.
  • Applying for Medicare savings programs for help with Medicare premiums, deductibles and co-payments.
  • Medicare Advantage Health Plans.
  • Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap).
  • Medicaid
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Understanding medical and insurance statements.
  • Filing claims and appeals.
  • Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse.

For assistance, please call the local Staunton/Augusta/Waynesboro VICAP Intake Line at 540-949-7141. Leave your name and phone number and a brief description of your needs or questions. A counselor will contact you in the order in which your call was received.

 

Open Enrollment

Both the Staunton Senior Center and the Waynesboro Senior Center are Medicare Open Enrollment sites each year from October 15 through December 7.

This time of year gives Medicare recipients a chance to make changes to their drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans. VICAP Counselors will explain how Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Health Plans work, discuss what changes will occur for the new year, describe out of pocket costs,  compare plans to determine which plan would most benefit an individual, and assist with enrollment. Please call 540-949-7141 for an appointment.

 

Community Outreach Speakers

Speakers are available to community groups.  Topics of interest include:   New to Medicare/Turning 65 presentations; Open Enrollment talks ( updates on Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plan benefits and out of pocket costs); Medicare Preventive Services; and Extra Help/Medicare Savings Programs (financial assistance that may help pay premiums, deductibles and copayments.)  To schedule a speaker, please call Amy Adkins at 540-949-7141.

 

Volunteer Opportunities

VPAS is seeking individuals wishing to be trained as VICAP Insurance Counseling volunteers. After attending a training program and becoming certified, volunteers provide older adults and persons with disabilities information about Medicare benefits, Part D drug plans, Medicare Advantage health plans and Medicare supplemental insurance. Ongoing training and support is provided to our volunteer counselors to ensure quality and accuracy of information and to meet the specific needs of the volunteer. Please call Amy Adkins at 540-949-7141 for more information.

 

Links

  • Medicare.gov: The official U.S. Government site for Medicare. Extensive information on Medicare benefits. Helpful for finding health and drug plans in local area and comparing costs.  Order a replacement Medicare card or Medicare publications.
  • Social Security: The official U.S. Government site for the Social Security Administration. Apply for benefits, including Retirement, Medicare, Disability, and Extra Help. Research issues using SSA’s online manuals.
  • Especially for Seniors: Virginia’s Bureau of Insurance site for seniors with a wealth of information ranging from  Medicare to Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) to prescription drug assistance programs in the state.
  • Benefits Check Up: A National Council on Aging site with information on finding help paying for medicine.
  • HealthCare.gov: U.S. Government resource for finding and comparing insurance options. Extensive information about The Affordable Care Act.
  • LongTermCare.gov: National Clearinghouse of Long-Term Care Information. Provides valuable tools to help people understand and plan for long-term care. Describes options available to pay for care, including Long-Term Care insurance.
  • Licensed Long-Term Care Insurance Companies: List, with links, of insurance carriers authorized to sell long-term care insurance policies in Virginia by the State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance.