A nonprofit organization that helps older adults is doing what they can to make the Medicare enrollment period easier than ever for people.

The Area Agency on Aging 1-B provides services to older adults and people with disabilities in a six-county region that includes Livingston County. With the Medicare enrollment period beginning today, they are offering free, unbiased counseling to help simplify the process.

Manager of the AAA 1-B’s Medicare Assistance Program, Shari Smith, says this is a good time for people to review their plan and make sure they are on the one that best works for them. Prices change, drug formularies change, and medications people might take could change. Smith said that with 24 different Part D plans and Medicare advantage plans that are like an HMO or PPO, it is understandable that people need help. Enrollees looking for help can schedule an appointment, bring in their medication list, and then the counselor will shop around for them. They’ll break it down to a few plans that might work best for the enrollee based on how they’d like to access their medical or drug care.

The Agency has 147 counselors that have gone through 10 hours of online training, 3 days of classroom training, 60 hours a year of counseling to maintain certification, and continued education to help people during times like this. Enrollment ends on December 7. Failing to enroll in the Part D prescription plan in a timely manner could cost an enrolled $33 per month. Those wishing to book an appointment to meet with a counselor can do so by calling the Agency at 1-800-803-7174. (MK)