Volunteer Opportunity

Area Agency on Aging – Volunteer Medicare Counselor

Project Start Date: Thu, March 31, 2016 12:00 pm
Project End Date: Wed, April 1, 2020 12:00 pm
Opportunity Type: Ongoing Volunteer Opportunity
Department: Community Services
Category: Human Services and Public Health
Time Commitment & Minimum Age: Must be 21 to apply. 3-4 hours per week, weekdays during normal business hours (8am-4:00pm M-F). Minimum one year commitment. Medicare Annual Open Enrollment takes place October 15 through December 7. Hours may increase, and locations will likely vary during this time.
Location:

Medicare Counseling Office

St. Vrain Community HUB

515 Coffman St, Longmont CO, 80501

Program Summary:

The Medicare Counseling Program of Boulder County Area Agency on Aging serves consumers 65 and over and people with disabilities who are on Medicare, and their caregivers, to help them access the health care to which they qualify. Through education, counseling, problem solving, and advocacy, the program seeks to empower people to better understand how to get optimal health care coverage and assist them when Medicare-related problems arise.

Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Respond directly to consumers or caregivers (via phone, email or face to face meetings) to provide impartial Medicare information. Such information may include but is not limited to enrollment periods, original Medicare, Medigap, Advantage plans and details on a myriad of topics related to Medicare.
  • Gather information from appropriate sources (i.e. SHIP – State Health Insurance Program or HHS – Housing and Human Services) needed to help consumers solve Medicare related issues.
  • Positively interact with medical office personnel, federal and state agencies to research for answers to consumer’s questions.
  • Positively interact and feel comfortable working with diverse populations.
  • Clearly communicate with other counselors with questions or for needed follow-up.
  • Maintain consumer’s privacy.
  • Attend regular and special volunteer trainings and meetings.
  • Complete annual training on elder abuse.
  • Complete Project Visibility training and other diversity trainings as available.
  • Report promptly suspected elder abuse or neglect to Area Agency on Aging staff or law enforcement.
  • Follow verbal and written instructions.
  • Follow established procedures to clearly and accurately document appointments with consumers.
  • Establish and maintain firm boundaries with consumers. Provide education and assistance only with Medicare issues and use appropriate referrals to other professionals for unrelated problems.
Qualifications and Requirements:
  • Minimum 21 years old
  • Ability to understand and organize complex information and communicate it clearly to a range of people with varying ranges of healthcare literacy.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills are required
  • Computer skills: Proficient Microsoft Office products, Outlook email, good familiarity with internet searches.
  • Ability to complete SHIP training, SHIP certification, Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) training and certification.
  • Ability to show empathy yet use discretion with beneficiary information.
  • Good time management skills.
  • Able to pass criminal background check.
  • Ability to set appropriate limits with respect to client resistance and within established guidelines.
Training Dates and Information:

Volunteer counselors will first pass the criminal background check then work with experienced counselors by shadowing on 5 separate consultations/appointments.

Once the volunteer has completed the initial look at the program via shadowing then the volunteer will take and complete a web-based training for SHIP and SMP within the next few weeks.

Volunteer counselors must pass SHIP training and certification prior to counseling with Medicare beneficiaries.

Volunteer counselors are also required to take the training to become certified in Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) for Medicare fraud and abuse.

Ongoing half day or full day trainings are offered periodically throughout the year, generally in Boulder or Denver.

In addition, web-based training materials are available and are sent via email for individual training.

Additional Information:

SUPERVISION:

You will be working with a Medicare Counselor mentor. In addition, you will meet quarterly with the Volunteer Coordinator to review your experiences.

BENEFITS:

There are no material benefits associated with this opportunity, but there is great satisfaction. Consumers report high rates of satisfaction and appreciation for the services they receive from our program.

People who feel they have nowhere else to turn to for assistance negotiating the complexities of the Medicare system successfully are often very appreciative of our services. Whether you love to solve complex puzzles, or translate complex concepts for straightforward consumption, or provide empathy to a distraught family member whose elder is increasingly vulnerable, there are indeed rewards!

Contact:

Maggie Benton, Volunteer Coordinator, Medicare Counseling Program, 303-678-6098; mbenton@bouldercounty.org

Application Process:

Please click here to fill out an application for this opportunity.