In less than two weeks, Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period begins – the time between October 15th and December 7th. This timeframe is important because it is your only chance, with a few exceptions (aren’t there always a few exceptions), to change plans or more specifically switch from Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C), switch from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare, switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another and make changes to your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
Consequently, every October is the time you should review your current Medicare Plan to see if it is still the best deal for you. Are there any changes in the premiums and deductibles? Does your plan still cover your medications? Does it still let you go to the pharmacy or doctors you want? These are some of the questions you will want to ask when you receive your Annual Notice of Change letter to make sure your current plan is still your best option.
And this year you may want to pay particular attention to your Prescription Drug Plan. As you may have heard, the premiums for seven of the top ten prescription drug plans will increase by 11 percent to 23 percent even though premiums for the overall market for 2013 will stay about the same. So this year, it may be worth your time and your check book to shop around.
If you need help, there are several local resources available. The Center has once again invited Jeff Eagan, who has been in the Medicare Insurance business for over twenty years, to present a session called MEDICARE 101 on Tuesday October 9th from 3:00 – 4:30. He will explain the basics plus highlight any changes for 2013.
Also the Area Agency on Aging is offering SHIBA counseling at the Center every Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 – 4:00 starting October 17th. SHIBA is “Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance”, a state wide program of trained volunteers to help answer your Medicare Part D and other Medicare questions. Call the Center (541-296-4788) to schedule your individual appointment with a SHIBA volunteer.
You can also contact Medicare directly by calling 1-800-633-4227 or go online to www.medicare.gov. And you can contact SHIBA by calling their message line 1-800-722-4134 or go online at http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/SHIBA/.
One last reminder. The Baby Back Rib Dinner, a fundraiser for Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center; generously sponsored by Mill Creek Point Senior Living, is this coming Friday from 4:30 – 7:30 PM. Your $15.00 ticket can be bought at the Center, Klindt’s Booksellers or at the door. There will be additional parking in the St. Mary’s School parking lot with the Mill Creek Point Bus conveniently shuttling folks back and forth to the Center. And if you want to eat at home, call Betty Harlan at the Center after 4:30 PM and ask for a take-out. She will make sure your meal is hot and ready to go as early as 5:00 PM.
Hardshell Harmony will again be providing the musical entertainment for the Baby Back Rib Dinner. But Friday night isn’t the only musical evening during the week. Tonight at the Center, Andre and the Strawberry Mountain Band will be playing country favorites for your dancing enjoyment. And then next Tuesday on the 9th, Martin and Friends will be returning. And if you want to mark it on your calendar for the rest of the month – Truman will be playing on the 16th, The Dufur Boys on the 23rd and For the Good Times on the 30th. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.
The twin talking magpies of Terrytoons fame were “Heckle and Jeckle” – staples of Saturday morning cartoons. (And the randomly selected winner of a Baby Back Rib Dinner is Rayburn Parker.) And since the Baby back Rib Dinner will be just a pleasant memory next week, the winner of this week’s “Remember When” questions will win a free Saturday Breakfast on October 20th. So here goes. The Royal Guardsman, an American rock band, recorded a 1966 hit describing the battles between the Red Baron and what comic strip character? Email your answer to the firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a bag of Georgia grown peanuts.
Well, it has been another week, trying to remember new names and old friends. Until we meet again, take that step no matter how small, because it only takes small changes to make big differences in our lives.