By Brendan Losinski
Posted October, 2016
HARPER WOODS — For those confused or worried about their health care options, the Harper Woods Public Library is throwing out a lifeline. The library will host a series of Medicare workshops to assist with what can be a complicated process.
The workshops will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. on Mondays through Dec. 5. Trained volunteers with the Detroit Area Agency on Aging will be on hand to help compare plans, explain enrollment options and see what people qualify for.
The Detroit Area Agency on Aging is working with the state of Michigan’s Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program, which aims to help people with the process of accessing health care. Donna Shellman, who is the MMAP coordinator for eastern Wayne County, said it’s all a matter of ensuring that everyone can get the help they require regarding Medicare enrollment and participation.
“It’s Medicare open enrollment time, and we want to give people a chance to get help and ask questions,” said Shellman. “We can go over what their options are or coordinate coverage. Sometimes we just help people make a plan or look at what they can do and prepare for next year.”
There will be several volunteers helping those who come in, but Shellman said she will be on hand to answer any questions that members of the public might have.
“We have a number of volunteers who will be helping, but I will be providing the bulk of the assistance,” said Shellman. “Our volunteers come from all walks of life, but they go through extensive background checks and training. We also don’t accept anyone who is a licensed insurance agent, insurance broker or financial planner. We don’t want anyone with an agenda to be taking part in these.”
The Harper Woods Public Library staff became involved after the Detroit Area Agency on Aging reached out to them.
“I was approached by the DAAA, which provides services for Detroit as well as Harper Woods, Highland Park, Hamtramck and the Grosse Pointes,” said Suzanne Kent, the Harper Woods library’s adult services librarian. “They wanted to bring people in each Monday to provide counseling to help people apply for Medicare, explain what people’s options are and answer questions. These classes can help individuals navigate a process (that) can be confusing or intimidating.”
No registration is required to take part, nor is there a fee.
“If you are at a loss at what to do about health care, and especially Medicare open enrollment, you should attend these workshops,” said Kent. “There are a lot of resources at the library that can help people, especially if you feel lost.”