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Beacon Senior News

Got Medicare questions? Medicare Resource Center has answers.

Dec 22, 2020 10:32AM ● By Melinda Mawdsley
Medicare Resource Center

Medicare Resource Center provides unbiased clarity

Western Slope seniors can expect at least one thing in their mailboxes every fall: Medicare fliers. 

Each year, Medicare’s open enrollment period falls between October and December, and many adults aged 64 and older find they have questions. Fortunately, that’s where the Medicare Resource Center can help.

Located at 327 N. Seventh St. in Grand Junction, the Medicare Resource Center—as its name suggests—is a reliable, unbiased resource for men and women with Medicare questions.

“Our specialty is really just understanding the Medicare options people have available to them and being able to communicate that to them,” said Medicare Resource Center Sales Director Joe Barrows. 

That’s especially important because potential health care costs are usually the biggest financial risk after retirement.

In a nutshell, Medicare has two components: Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. According to Barrows, the plans are pretty straight-forward, but Medicare simply doesn’t cover all medical costs annually. That’s where supplemental plans come in—and there are many options. Plus, the list of providers who are “in network” for each plan can change annually, which affects coverage, and ultimately costs.

The more than a dozen agents at the Medicare Resource Center work with clients to confirm in-network providers, break down supplemental plan differences, and get at the core of what each person needs for his or her coverage—whether that’s prescription coverage, more dental coverage or even a higher premium plan for more overall coverage.

Each person is unique, and there are plans to meet people where they are.

“A lot of folks we deal with are savvy and can do that research,” Barrows said. “They call us to verify the steps they’ve taken and want to talk to us to make sure they aren’t missing something, or to get confirmation that what they’ve come up with is reality.”

Grand Junction’s Dan Griffin is one of those “savvy” people when it comes to understanding Medicare. 

Griffin typically makes decisions on his Medicare coverage as close to mid-October as possible when enrollment opens. In 2020, however, things were behind schedule and providers he used had not yet committed to a supplemental plan he wanted.

“Once you select a plan, you want to make sure the doctors are providers for those,” Griffin said.

Luckily, Griffin knew Barrows, and sought out the Medicare Resource Center for the first time this past fall.

“Joe is so helpful,” Griffin said. “I found it easier and better to just use his expertise as opposed to me trying to wade through the different plans. I was able to ascertain some of the differences by studying them, but I think it’s just helpful to have someone who that’s their business.”

“Most people don’t want to be an expert in Medicare plans,” Barrows added. “They want to get the insurance in place and then forget about it.”

Each Medicare Resource Center agent is an independent contractor and not an employee of any particular insurance provider. They work to get Western Slope clients the coverage they want and need.

Age 64 ½ is a great time to learn more about Medicare options. Clients can communicate with Medicare Resource Center agents via computer and phone. The Center is also open for in-person meetings, featuring sanitizing stations, a filtration system and daily staff symptom screenings.

“I love dealing and working with folks anywhere from 60 years to 102,” said Barrows. “I enjoy helping people figure (their options) in a non-pressured environment where it really is helping. After you’ve done that, they really mean it when they say, ‘Thank you.’”