CAPITOL REPORT: REPRESENTATIVE PATRICIA PIKE

Free Online Learning Now Available to Missourians

Dear Citizens: Missourians interested in developing skills that will help them advance their careers now have access to an important online learning tool. The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) and the Office of Workforce Development have expanded their partnership with the online learning platform Coursera, to offer free, online education opportunities.

Coursera partners with more than 200 of the world’s leading university and industry educators to offer courses teaching job-relevant skills in fields such as business, technology, and data science. Through this partnership, Missourians can also earn professional certificates from leading companies, like Google, IBM, and Facebook, that are designed to prepare people for high-growth, entry-level careers, including in IT support, data analytics, project management, and social media marketing.

Missourians will have free access to 4,000 courses to develop high-demand digital and job-readiness skills as they look to find employment or advance their careers. Job seekers and students can earn certificates in everything from social media marketing to Excel skills, web development, the business of health care, IT security, and hundreds more.

The commissioner of higher education said, “Coursera provides a free and flexible avenue for Missourians to learn new, marketable skills as they seek new employment or work towards a promotion.”

Missouri will offer free access to learning on Coursera through Summer 2022. To register, Missourians need to visit jobs.mo.gov/coursera, and click the “Apply Now” button to be contacted by a Job Center team member. Enrollment is dependent on eligibility of Statewide WIOA, a benefits program designed to help unemployed and underemployed Missourians.

Medicare Open Enrollment Runs Through December 7– Now is the time for Missourians who are eligible for Medicare to review their plan options and costs to ensure they have the plan that best meets their needs. The Missouri Department of Commerce & Insurance is encouraging eligible Missourians to review their plan options and costs during this year’s open enrollment, which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

During the open enrollment period, Missourians have the opportunity to change their Part D drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plans. To help consumers choose the best plan, the department offers free assistance to Missourians who are eligible for Medicare and their caregivers through the department’s CLAIM program. CLAIM can also help Missourians on a limited income determine whether they qualify for a Low-Income Subsidy and/or Medicare Savings Programs to offset the cost of their prescription drugs.

Missourians can ask questions by phone or arrange one-on-one counseling by calling 1-800-390-3330 or visiting missouriclaim.org

The director of the Missouri Department of Commerce & Insurance said, “I encourage all Missouri seniors who have Medicare to take time during open enrollment to review their plans. Plans can change from year to year, and what you had last year may not be what best suits your needs this year.”

The department warns Missouri seniors, health care providers and others to be wary of unscrupulous sales tactics during the open enrollment period. Protecting personal information is the best line of defense in the fight against health care fraud and abuse.  The department offers these tips to keep personal information safe: 

·         Verify that a salesperson is a licensed insurance agent by calling the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390.

·         Be cautious of door-to-door sales people. Medicare has no sales representatives, and agents cannot solicit Part D or Medicare Advantage plans at your home without an appointment.

·         Avoid sales people who offer free lunches for listening to a sales presentation. Federal law prohibits offers of free meals in exchange for signing up for a plan or listening to a presentation on Medicare.

·         Do not give out personal information to an unlicensed agent. Sales people are not allowed to ask for your Medicare Number, Social Security, bank account or credit card number during marketing activities. If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare Number or other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). 

·         Sales people cannot ask for online payments and must send a bill. Once you decide to buy a plan and have verified the agent is licensed, then you may give the agent personal enrollment and billing information.

·         A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you. A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you’ve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.

·         Consumers with complaints or questions about insurance can contact the department’s Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

 Contact Representative Patricia Pike at [email protected] or call 573-751-5388.

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