Where to Find Extra Help for the Elderly

ATLANTA, July 30 (UPI) — U.S. health insurance officials advise caregivers of the elderly that there may be help for their spouse or parent they don’t know about.

Experts at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia in Atlanta say those enrolled in a Medicare plan may have access to free programs administered by nurses and others to help manage chronic diseases and prevent acute episodes. Many only learn of these programs after hospitalization, the officials say.

“These programs are above and beyond those offered by original Medicare,” Krista Bowers, senior vice president of senior products, says in a statement. “It’s important for caregivers to know about them and encourage their loved ones to participate.”

Bowers suggests getting a copy of a member’s explanation of coverage from the insurer to find out what’s available.

For information about eligibility for another source of “extra help” — assistance with monthly prescription drug premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments for low income seniors — go to www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp.

Even if a loved one doesn’t qualify for extra help from Social Security, the experts say there are resources available at the state and community levels. The Web site www.benefitscheckuprx.org, which counts Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia among its sponsors, tracks more than 1,550 benefit programs throughout the United States.

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