U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) continues to hear directly from Iowans during COVID-19, hosting another telephone town hall with seniors from across the state on Monday to help answer questions and discuss her efforts to support them during this pandemic. Ernst was joined by Joe Sample, Executive Director of Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and Dwane McFerrin with the National Association of Health Underwriters.
“This pandemic has been especially challenging for Iowa’s elderly population, and I want to make sure they are getting the information, resources, and support they need during this difficult time. Tonight’s telephone town hall was another opportunity to speak directly with folks and to answer their questions—which has been my top priority throughout COVID-19. My staff and I are here to help, and I encourage anyone who needs it to reach out if we can be of assistance,” said Senator Ernst.
“Iowa’s Area Agencies on Aging are dedicated to helping keep older Iowans, adults with disabilities, and family caregivers safe during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly with folks on this telephone town hall and let them know about the resources and assistance available to them,” said Joe Sample, Executive Director of Iowa’s Area Agencies on Aging. “To all Iowans, call LifeLong Links at 1-866-468-7887 to talk to an Iowa-based aging services expert to find local services that will reduce loneliness related to social isolation, nutrition and wellness programs, and supports that promote your independence.”
“In these uncertain times of a global pandemic, it is important you have access to care and choose the right plan,” said Dwane McFerrin, a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters. “Take advantage of telehealth as it is growing rapidly as well as consult with your insurance agent on changes to coverage effective January 1. There are a lot of choices to be made, even if done over the phone or on a platform like Zoom or other screen share method.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Senator Ernst has been working to ensure Iowa’s seniors have the support they need during this difficult time, including hosting several telephone town halls. Earlier today, Ernst announced she had joined a bipartisan effort to expand health care access and virtual visitations for the state’s most at-risk individuals.
The Senator has also urged her colleagues to support her bipartisan Credit for Caring Act, and to include, at a minimum, a modified or temporary version of her bill in the next COVID-19 relief package, an effort AARP Iowa said “would provide some much-needed financial relief to eligible family caregivers in Iowa and across the country.”
She also helped secure a number of important relief measures for seniors in the three bipartisan packages Congress passed and that are now law, including:
- Broadly expanded Medicare’s telehealth services, so seniors can access more care and health services from home.
- Included free diagnostic COVID-19 testing and free coverage of a future COVID-19 vaccine.
- Provided additional funding for Aging and Disability Services Programs, which supports senior nutrition, home-delivered meals, community-based services, and family caregivers.
- Required Medicare Part D plans to provide up to a 90-day supply of prescription medication if a senior requests this during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She penned a column about her efforts to secure relief for and ensure the care and safety of Iowa’s seniors. Read her column here.