Aging Well March 29th

Last October Dr. PK Swartz came by the Center and dropped off an article from the New York Times which discussed how to protect yourself from Medicare fraud. It may not seem like a big deal because Medicare recipients are rarely held financially liable for these fraudulent claims, but still Medicare fraud can affect you in several damaging ways.

According to the article, several individuals were denied medical equipment because unknowingly their Medicare had been previously billed for the same kind of equipment. Another potential harm is when Medicare identifies an excessive type of Medicare fraud, they respond by tightening eligibility requirements which makes it more difficult for anyone who really does need the service. And this is in addition to the obvious: billions of dollars of fraudulent payments raises the cost of premiums for everyone.

According to the “Stop Medicare Fraud” website, there are several common sense actions you can take to protect yourself and help prevent Medicare Fraud: guard your card, beware of free services, examine your Medicare statements, and make a report. More specifically – if anyone approaches you in a public place to offer free services in exchange for your Medicare number – WALK AWAY. If you are called to answer a health survey and asked to provide your Medicare number over the phone, – HANG UP; if you find unexpected and suspicious charges on your medical bill – REPORT IT; and if a health care provider tells you the equipment or service is free but they only need your Medicare number for their records say – NO THANKS.

Medicare Fraud is a billion dollar national problem. You can report any suspected Medicare fraud by calling 1-800-Medicare. And if your Medicare card is lost or stolen, report it right away by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) for a replacement. There are things you just don’t share with anyone: your Social Security number, Medicare number and what you did when you were twenty one!

As Snoopy – the happy hoofer of the comic pages – once said “To live is to dance, to dance is to live”. So if you want to live it up, down or sideways – there is always music on Tuesday nights at the Center. Tonight the Cherry Park Band will be jammin and next Tuesday it will be Andre and the Strawberry Mountain Band hitting the high notes. It all starts at 7:00 PM and even though we don’t expect to get rich, donations are appreciated. And everyone one – including beagles and their owners – are invited.

At this time I don’t have a speaker lined up for the April 5thTuesday Lecture. But to give you an idea of what’s on the horizon, I do have scheduled Jerry Tanquist for April 12th discussing Train Wrecks which should appeal to the little boy in all of us guys – I don’t know about the gals; Tara Koch director of Haven – but after their major fundraiser at the Civic on Thursday March 31st starting at 6:00 PM (complete with culinary delights by local chefs, wineries and music) and our monthly speaker from MCMC. If you are the curious type and want to learn more about the world around you, this is the place to be.

There are now eleven hearty singers plus a pianist interested in reigniting the Center’s “Young at Heart Serenaders” but the Center still needs a music director, councilor, shepherd or whatever the position requires. Is there anyone out there who wants to fill this once in a life time opportunity? Maybe Phyllis? I promise I won’t add my voice to the ensemble.

You must be a real Bozo if you didn’t know the answer to last week’s “Remember When” question. Although there were several Clarabell answers (It’s Howdy Doody time!), it was Bozo “The World’s Most Famous Clown” that was franchised to TV stations all across the country first airing in 1949. This week’s question is from Al Wynn who stumped me on the Coffeebreak when he asked “In 1964 and 1965 who hosted Death Valley Days which was sponsored by 20 Mule Team Borax? I had no clue – maybe it’s because I’m a Democrat – but if you know, e-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the inside of a 1932 yearbook from Eureka College.

Well, it’s been another week chasing my tail while looking for the end of the rope. Until we meet again, Ivy Baker Priest reminds us “the world is round – and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning”.

“I think I’ve discovered the secret of life – you just hang around until you get used to it.” Sally Brown (Charlie’s Sister)

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