Larry Zettel is such an engaged retiree who enjoys helping seniors with their important health care decisions. Larry was first exposed to the choices of Medicare when he enrolled himself as he retired from Loras College as a Mathematics and Computer Science professor. He completed his own research and the more he researched the more he learned. He compared his findings with those of friends and siblings and validated his choices. And, as it turned out Larry had a natural competency for maneuvering through these choices.
It was shortly after that process where he decided to look into assisting others and joined SHIIP as a volunteer counselor. SHIIP stands for Senior Health Insurance Information Program. As you may know, it helps Iowans by offering guidance to seniors so they can make informed healthcare choices regarding Medicare. It is a free and confidential service. In Dubuque, there are knowledgeable volunteers staffed at two locations.
After intensive training at the Des Moines SHIIP office, Larry learned the intricacies of Medicare and learned the language of advising others through the process. Each year, Larry and his colleagues obtain continuing education and expand their knowledge base even further. Larry and his other colleagues are just finishing up their busy season, the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which is from October 15th each year through December 7th. This year alone the two sites in Dubuque helped over 2000 seniors. Larry also leads “Welcome to Medicare” seminars in which typically 60-70 seniors attend.
If you are interested in receiving guidance from SHIIP or perhaps joining SHIIP as a volunteer, you can visit the SHIIP web site, www.therightcalliowa.gov or call the Sunset Park Place SHIIP site at 563-583-3384 or the Des Moines office at 1-800-351-4664.
When I asked Larry why he does this work year after year he tells me that it offers him the opportunity to get out of the house, stay mentally active and it is rewarding to help others. So much so that he also volunteers with AARP Tax Aide from February 1st though April 15th. During that time he helps senior citizens prepare their tax returns. If you are interested in this service, please call 1-888-687-2277.
What gift do you have that you can offer to others? As Larry indicates, it is very rewarding work and is enjoyable as well.