A program of Home Instead Senior Care Foundation

Volunteers Assisting Seniors

Omaha, Nebraska

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Senior Benefits Counseling Program: Government benefit programs can have an enormous impact on the quality of life for seniors as they age, but many seniors are overwhelmed by the complexity of the programs and fail to fully understand and access their benefits. The Senior Benefits Counseling Program is a critical, local resource for unbiased information about complex government benefits. Through educational seminars and individual counseling, seniors are empowered with the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions about their benefit options. Through the Senior Benefits Counselor Program, seniors receive unbiased, one-on-one counseling to help with;
• Transitioning from current insurance into Medicare
• Understanding the basics of Medicare, including benefits, costs, enrollment time frames and coordination of benefits with other insurance.
• Reviewing Medicare Part D and Advantage plan coverage annually
• Resolving Medicare billing issues
• Finding and applying for financial assistance programs to lower healthcare costs
• Applying for property tax relief through Homestead Exemption

More About Us

Volunteers Assisting Seniors (VAS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that began in 1977 as a result of a nationwide effort by the Junior League to provide assistance to older adults and to demonstrate that retired seniors can be a valuable resource for solving problems. Our mission is to help older adults in eastern Nebraska understand their benefit options, thereby empowering them to make informed decisions. VAS provides unbiased information and advocacy through one-on-one counseling and workshops to older adults living in Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Washington and Cass counties (metro Omaha) in Nebraska. The services we offer are provided by retired professionals who use their knowledge, life experiences and specialized training to help their peers better understand their benefits. Assistance is available through the following VAS programs:

Senior Benefits Counselor Program: Health insurance in general is one of the most complex products an individual will ever purchase. Insurance options available through Medicare are even more confusing. Through our network of trained and certified volunteers, VAS provides unbiased information and advocacy to help seniors and disabled individuals better understand their health insurance options. Education and assistance is provided through workshops and in-depth counseling on Medicare. This program provides an essential local resource, not only for seniors and their caregivers, but also for health care providers, community agencies who work with older adults and people with disabilities. In calendar year 2019, through this program, VAS had 8,022 contacts with seniors and disabled who received help understanding their insurance benefits and options for an estimated savings of $2.8 million in health care costs.

Homestead Exemption Assistance Program: Many seniors do not feel comfortable completing the application form to apply for property tax relief through homestead exemption and as a result, forego the opportunity to save hundreds of dollars in property taxes. Starting in March through the end of June, VAS staffs satellite assistance sites with trained volunteers to assist low-income senior homeowners with the homestead exemption application process. In 2018, VAS volunteers helped 1,789 low-income seniors and disabled apply for Homestead Exemption for an estimated $3.7 million in property tax relief.

Court Auditor Program:
Since the fall of 2009, VAS has been providing volunteers to assist the Douglas County court in reviewing the annual reports required by guardians and conservators in an effort to increase the probate court's capacity to monitor the assets and quality of care of incapacitated adults. Auditors look for any questionable use of funds and make notes on an audit report. In 2019, the VAS court auditors reviewed 800 annual reports, bringing $1.4 million in questionable use of a protected person's funds to the attention of the courts.

Testimonials

"Our goal was to reduce prescription expenses. Between us, we reduced our prescription costs for a total of $1,500 a year. Our senior volunteer was patient, pleasant, informative, and professional. All of the people we encountered were friendly".

"We came for help understanding Medicare Part D. Our volunteer was knowledgeable and thorough. He was a good teacher who was able to explain our options so we were able to easily understand. We were not aware of these services until this year".

"Mostly want to know about drug plans. I tried an Advantage plan and was a bit on the fence about staying with it and he helped me get a better perspective on both options. Very, very helpful".

"Requested help to see what insurance companies offered the best rate for the best coverage. Our counselor was very informative and helpful. Appreciate this volunteer service for seniors."

"I needed help understanding how to coordinate VA benefits with Medicare". My counselor was excellent and able to answer my Medicare questions in an easy to understand way."

"I find VAS to be a wonderful benefit to seniors."

DONATE TOWARDS OUR MISSION

Our mission is to simplify the lives of seniors by enabling them to make informed decisions regarding their benefits
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