| Sun, Sep 16, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

For Family Caregivers, the Need for Medicare Know-How May Come Early

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

by John Schall, CEO, Caregiver Action Network

Family caregivers do a lot. Manage medications? Check. Ferry loved ones to and from doctor appointments? Check. Perform sophisticated nursing tasks in the home? Check. Handle insurance? Yeah, they do that too.

If you’re a family caregiver, you likely know all the ins and outs of your loved one’s care. You may help determine and articulate health treatment goals. So it only makes sense that you might be called upon to help your loved one find the right Medicare plan, too. You know a lot about your loved one’s health care needs, and you may be in a good position to help find a plan that meets those needs.

Your role as caregiver may require you to think about Medicare sooner rather than later, even if Medicare enrollment is years away for you personally. But who wants to dig into the details of Medicare? It’s a complicated, daunting and lonely task, right? Wrong!

National Medicare Education Week is here to help. It runs Sept. 15 – 21 and features in-person and online education events designed to help people make confident, informed Medicare decisions. UnitedHealthcare created National Medicare Education Week for caregivers like you, beneficiaries like your loved one and others for whom Medicare is a part of life. It occurs over the same 7 days every year and is timed to help you prepare for Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). AEP is when you can change Medicare coverage choices for the following year. It runs Oct. 15 – Dec. 7.

Family caregivers who understand how Medicare works may find it easier to help their loved one get the coverage that fits their health needs and budget. Thankfully, you and your loved one don’t have to make these important decisions alone. In addition to National Medicare Education Week, you can find information and other free resources to help boost your Medicare know-how by visiting Medicare Made Clear.  Medicare itself and your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) are also good resources.

As a family caregiver, you do research about your loved one’s condition. You investigate treatments, symptoms, outcomes, doctors and medications in order to be as supportive as possible and to be the best caregiver you can be. So why not learn more about Medicare?

You help your loved one with so many things, and a lot of those things are hard. Medicare doesn’t have to be one of them.

At Caregiver Action Network (CAN), we’re devoted to helping you, the family caregiver. We know that you’re totally committed to giving your loved one the best quality of life possible, and we want to help. When you visit CaregiverAction.org, you’ll find information to help you.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.