Face-to-face Medicare help could be replaced by 1-800 hotline

Washington is hoping they won't have to refer senior citizen patients in need to 1-800-MEDICARE.

Thousands of seniors in the state who get Medicare questions answered in person may have to rely on 1-800-MEDICARE for help.

The state’s Office of Insurance Commissioner uses federal funding to train volunteers to work face-to-face with 88,000 seniors across the state at community centers, food banks and senior homes.

That funding could be cut under proposed federal cuts, putting the volunteer program in jeopardy.

Medicare recipient Susan Ryan said she has always struggled with Medicare forms and reimbursement claims.

“Everything was Greek to me. I literally could not understand the directions,” said Ryan.

She appreciates the help she receives from volunteers and doesn’t know how easy it will be to rely on the 1-800 number.

“I would never know what is right and I would be anxious all year long because of making a bad decision,” said Ryan.

Volunteer Carole Burger said the budget cut wouldn't save the federal government any money.

“They’re not going to get assistance. They’re not going to get care. That’s a cost to the public. That’s a huge cost,” said Burger. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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