Medicare and Medicaid are two frequently used federal programs, and they are the ones Congress most likes to fiddle with. As a result, lots of people have questions. Enter Judith Bendersky, a Health Manager 2 with the State of Alaska, who is in town to answer some of those questions.
“The rules change. And then with the affordable care act as well, the rules are changing again. Although for Medicare, things have gotten better under the Affordable Care Act. There’s better coverage for preventive services and there’s better tracking for fraud – you know, catching the crooks who are trying to rip off the federal system. But we keep up with all that stuff, and we know really and truly how it all works in Alaska.”
She says even the basics of the system are often times a mystery to eligible Americans.
“As people turn 65, they usually realized that whether they’re working or not, they’re probably entitled to federal health insurance called Medicare, and often have questions like, “what if I’m still working? What if my spouse is working? What if I’m on Medicaid? What if I’m on disability? What if I’m a veteran? What if I’m Alaska Native? There’s lots of what-ifs. So people call us and we give them guidance and help them understand what the coverage they have may coordinate with Medicare or not coordinate with Medicare.”
Given the complexity of the topic, it’s surprising that there are only two fulltime counselors in Bendersky’s Anchorage office, but she says they have lots of help elsewhere.
“We have very talented people around the state, such as Kodiak’s own, Laurie Murdock, who guides people; she’s a certified Medicare counselor. So we have people all over the state in Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak, Ketchikan and you name it, that are trained by our office to help people in their communities.”
Bendersky will be in town through Sunday.
“Primarily I’m coming to speak to the Filipino-American community during their heritage week, on the 15th, which is Saturday, there’s a community potluck between 12 and 5, and I’m a guest speaker and I’ll be talking about Medicare and Medicaid, and how to apply and how to enroll and how it all works with disability and Social Security.”
Bendersky will be available to anyone interested in talking with her before that, at the Kodiak Senior Center. Just give the aforementioned Laurie Murdock a call there to set up an appointment.