Picture this — you’re sitting in your office when you hear a knock from outside. Several seconds later, the door cracks open, and a head pokes in to see whether you’re busy. You know the face well. It belongs to one of the oldest employees in your company, someone who’s worked for your organization far longer than you have. You quickly motion for them to come in and sit down. And once they’ve done that, they begin asking you questions about Medicare eligibility, pricing, and how to program will work with their existing, company-provided health care. Do you have the answers they need?
As an HR professional, it’s possible, even likely, that you seem like the expert in this area. After all, questions about Medicare involve benefits and legal knowledge. But let’s be honest. Medicare isn’t the most straightforward topic. It’s convoluted, it’s messy and difficult to understand. However, it isn’t impossible to comprehend. In fact, events like National Medicare Education Week help clarify confusing questions about the program. But sometimes, this still isn’t enough. Fortunately, there are Medicare Education Courses available to help HR Professionals stay on top of things. So, when members of their workforce have difficult questions, they can know how to respond in a helpful manner.
Why Should You Take Medicare Education Courses?
Changes to Medicare
Most things in life aren’t static — they grow and change regularly, and that’s the case for Medicare as well. Premiums and deductibles rise and fall, coverage benefits can fluctuate, and in some cases, the program alters in response to certain events. The perfect example is the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the widespread effects of the virus, changes to Medicare allowed beneficiaries to receive necessary medical assistance for no out-of-pocket costs. As reported in a healthline article, many of the normal requirements were waived in order to combat coronavirus and allow those most vulnerable to receive the help they needed.
But even when pandemics aren’t raging, it’s normal for Medicare to change. After all, the program went into effect in 1965, fifty-six years ago. It’s only natural for government programs to undergo numerous alterations over the course of nearly six decades. It’s easy to find different milestones and changes to the program over time.
If HR managers aren’t aware of the regular changes to Medicare, it’s possible for them to provide employees with incorrect or misleading information. And since mistakes in the enrollment process can be extremely costly, it’s vital for beneficiaries to receive facts. So, if HR professionals have the best in mind for their fellow employees, they need to do one of at least two things:
- Stay up to date on Medicare information, which requires knowledge of the program
- Admit their lack of knowledge and refer employees to someone who does know the answers to their questions
If HR professionals want to provide accurate information, taking Medicare Education courses could be the simplest way to stay up to date on changes to the program.
Older Employees in the Workforce
Officially, the retirement age in the United States is 67 years for anyone born after 1960. However, individuals born between 1943 and 1954 can retire at 66. Comparatively, Medicare coverage starts at 65 years, which means most members of the workforce today will have at least one to two years of active Medicare coverage before they retire. So, HR managers have to help aging members of their workforce understand how to navigate employer-provided health care and Medicare. Simply put, HR professionals cannot adequately advise older employees without knowing how to two types of health care coverage interact.
Because of steep penalties associated with late enrollment, individuals need to know the right time to sign up for Medicare. There are many costly mistakes that can be made during the enrollment process. And some employees might mistakenly believe that because they have health insurance through their company, they do not need to enroll. Informed HR professionals can correct this misinformation and help save individuals from incurring life-long penalties.
Of course, taking Medicare Education courses comes with the added benefit of being more well-rounded. Even if an informed HR professional can’t answer every Medicare related question, knowing where to find appropriate resources can be immensely beneficial. And even basic knowledge can prove to be advantageous. After all, knowledge is knowledge, whether it’s used in a professional or personal setting. HR managers who know how to advise employees also know how to advise friends and family. And if helping loved-ones isn’t a necessity, just having that knowledge can make individuals more attractive for job opportunities and advancement.
Surely, knowledge of Medicare should be used to help those who don’t know where to begin. But it would be unrealistic to assume having that knowledge doesn’t come with personal and career benefits. So, to say it again, taking Medicare Education courses is useful on two fronts. On one hand, it can be used to help employees who are nearing retirement age. But on the other hand, it can be used in the interest of family or friends, and can even help an individual get a step up in their career.
Where to Find Medicare Education Courses
There are plenty of reasons for HR professionals to take Medicare Education courses apart from what has already been listed. But what about finding those courses? VTR Learning has you covered! In partnership with the Medicare Rights Center, we offer a full Medicare Education Suite for members of SHRM and HRCI. That’s right — not only can you get the Medicare information you need, but you can earn continuing education credit at the same time. All four Medicare Education courses are online, so you can take them at home or on the go!
Article written by Braden Norwood