“It’s pretty complex on its own,” Boyd said.
During open enrollment, the agency will have three full-time staff and seven other volunteers who will help seniors navigate Part D of Medicare. Typically, in a year, they’ll advise 2,200 to 2,400 seniors about insurance, Boyd said. Most of them occur during the registration period open in the fall.
Each counselor has been certified by the Virginia Insurance Counseling Assistance Program and the service they provide is confidential. Regardless of which plan a client chooses, advisors do not receive any commission or payment from any insurer.
The LOA is one of 25 regional offices on aging in Virginia, and it covers Roanoke, Salem, and Roanoke, Botetourt, Allegany and Craig counties. (If you live outside of this area, find the office number for your area. It probably offers the same service.)
I wrote about this in 2019 after receiving a plea from Fred Horn, a retiree who is one of the program’s volunteer counselors. He always does that.
As a volunteer, “I don’t have a dog on this hunt,” Horn told me. “I just gave them the information. It has been very rewarding for me to be able to help people.
No-cost estate planning in Washington and Lee
Another thing that many seniors need is estate planning. A fall course at Washington and Lee University Law School offers free help for this – and you don’t have to be a senior.