Aging Well in the Gorge ~ October 25th, 2023

It’s that time of the year: falling leaves, cooler mornings, and football hysteria! But it’s also time for my annual reminder about Medicare’s Open Enrollment that continues through December 7th.

Since each year the insurance companies can adjust their Medicare plans, the Open Enrollment period gives you an opportunity to decide if your Medicare plan is still the best option for you or if it’s time to switch to another plan – or even if your plan is still available: the Elixir Prescription Drug Plan will no longer be available in Oregon.

To help decide, first take time to review your plan’s “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC) which you should have received in September. It describes any changes to your current plan for next year. Then ask yourself the big three Medicare questions.

1.) Does my plan allow me to go to the providers I want, including my pharmacy?

2.) Are my prescription drugs covered?

3.) How much does the plan cost?

Good advice, but do you? If you don’t, you’re not alone. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 57 percent of Medicare recipients didn’t review or compare their coverage options annually – probably because they find it frustrating, perplexing, and downright confusing!

This year take time to carefully review your plan and the changes; and if you’re satisfied with your current plan, you don’t need to do anything.

But if you aren’t satisfied with the changes, or if you’ve avoided the hassle of comparing plans over the past several years – there are now plans with a $0 premium – there are several ways you can compare plans in your county.

You can visit “” and use the Medicare Plan Finder; study the Medicare & You handbook you received in the mail; call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) where help is available 24/7. In Oregon, you can also visit the Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) website.

If you’d rather talk to someone face-to-face, you can meet with a private insurance broker who specializes in Medicare, or you can schedule an appointment with a trained impartial SHIBA volunteer counselor who will help you navigate your way through the Medicare maze. To schedule an appointment with a SHIBA counselor in Oregon call 541-288-8341, in Goldendale 509-773-3757, in White Salmon 509-493-3068, and for the Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities of Southwest Washington in Stevenson call 509-427-3990.

It’s important to understand your Medicare options: Original Medicare, Advantage Plans, Medigap, and prescription drug plans, so you can make informed decisions – both for your health and your pocketbook.

Brain Tease from the website Brain Health and Puzzles.

To exercise your brain and help you with your creativity and imagination try visualization. With your eyes shut, visualize moving from room to room in your home while picturing every piece of furniture, and every step you take avoiding chairs and tables. But don’t trip!

Last week’s Brain Tease answer was ship, but as Kathy Bullock pointed out it could also have been rainbow.

The common name for this easy-to-remember melody that even non-piano players could play was chopsticks. I received correct answers from Kathy Bullock, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Linda Frizzell, Maria Kollas, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Bruce Johnson, Lana Tepfer, who wondered why kids played it so LOUD, and Chuck Rice this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Nancy Higgins.

The Baseball World Series starts Friday, and one of my fond memories was when my fifth-grade teacher allowed us to listen to the World Series during class. I can’t remember who played in that World Series, but there is one Series that sticks in the minds of most baseball fans.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the “Amazin” baseball team that won the 1969 World Series in their eighth year of existence and accomplished one of the greatest upsets in Series history? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a Topps baseball card featuring Donn Clendenon – but you can keep the stick of gum!

Well, it’s been another week, dodging falling bricks. Until we meet again, keep your eyes on the sky and your feet on the ground.

“I must be getting absent-minded. Whenever I complain things aren’t what they used to be, I always forget to include myself.” George Burns

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

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