Empower Seniors helps Cherokees, seniors with Medicare enrollment

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
09/11/2018 08:15 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Michael Hixson
DEL CITY – Cherokee Nation citizen and Medicare advisor Michael Hixson helps enroll seniors 65 years and older into Medicare insurance programs through his business Empower Seniors.

“With the likely expansion of multiple new Medicare Advantage Plans throughout eastern Oklahoma, tribal members will have access to current benefits and may receive additional benefits not provided by Cherokee Nation,” Hixson said.

Hixson said about seven years ago he began working with Universal American, enrolling seniors into Medicare Advantage plans and found that the plans did not fit all seniors. So he became an independent agent and is now able to offer more options.

“Being an independent agent allows me to learn the needs of the client and then explain the different options so clients can make an informed decision,” Hixson said.

The Medicare program has parts A, B, C and D.

Parts A and B are original Medicare plans. Part A is hospital insurance and helps pay for inpatient stays, skilled nursing and hospice care. Part B is medical insurance and helps pay for doctor’s visits, ambulance rides, lab testing, medical equipment and outpatient surgery.

Part C is Medicare Advantage offered by private insurers as an alternative to original Medicare and provides all necessary Part A and B coverage in one plan.

Part D is prescription drug coverage that is separate from original Medicare, though each plan has a list of covered prescription drugs and pharmacies.

CN citizen Harold Hicks, of Broken Arrow, said as he neared 65 years of age, he began receiving mail about Medicare supplemental and Advantage plans and that it was overwhelming trying to decide which worked best for him.

Originally with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Hicks said he knew he needed to change insurance plans as BCBS would no longer be of use to him once he turned 65. He said he found a suitable Medicare plan with Hixson’s help.

“He was very thorough, covered different kinds of plans available, and talked to me about my situation and what I was really needing, medicine, your current status of your health,” Hicks said. “He seemed to present things very fairly…He didn’t seem to push any particular thing, but he knew how the Cherokee insurance or the Indian Health Services would work with most of these. And he was knowledgeable about what Medicare provided and the different plans.”

Hicks said he got a Medicare Advantage plan through AARP and that with with Empower Seniors, his experience felt like a more honest and open approach as he narrowed down to what plan fit him the best.

“The Cherokee health system can receive greater reimbursements and limit their cost on very expensive treatments by working with Medicare Advantage plans,” Hixson said. “Having an agent help you find a plan that best fits your needs doesn’t cost you anything.”

Annual enrollment begins Oct. 15 through Dec. 1 with coverage starting Jan. 1. For more information, call 405-397-1929, email mike@EmpowerSeniors.insure or visit website EmpowerSeniors.insure.
About the Author
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to ...

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