Extension health-insurance counseling saves Kansans $4.6 million

Extension health-insurance counseling saves Kansans $4.6 million

Many aging Kansans do not understand the complexities of Medicare or health insurance. Insufficient or inaccurate information can lead to late enrollment penalties, gaps in coverage, strained finances, delayed healthcare treatment and increased stress for those who are newly eligible for Medicare. Furthermore, 29% of Medicare enrollees nationwide have incomes at 150% of the federal poverty level, but are unaware they qualify for assistance until a counselor screens them.

Counselors for SHICK (Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas) provide accurate information on Medicare, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Long-Term Care and other health insurance topics. These services help alleviate stress, save money, improve health outcomes and support community vitality.

Counseling is provided one-on one by telephone, Zoom, and in-person sessions at local Extension offices and events. Information is also provided during public presentations throughout the state, on podcasts and in videos. In-person counseling is best for those with cognitive decline or chronic conditions that make it difficult to understand complicated information.

Kansas State University Research and Extension professionals provided health-insurance education to 3,838 Kansans across 35 counties. In follow-up evaluation surveys, four out of five respondents said they better understood what to consider when choosing a health or prescription plan, and could better anticipate annual expenses associated with the plans they selected. Participants who completed prescription-drug or Medicare Advantage plan comparisons and changed to plans that better met their needs saved over $4.6 million in total.

Link to full statement on website: http://landgrantimpacts.tamu.edu/impacts/show/5995