It’s that special time of the year. No, I don’t mean college football and falling leaves. I’m talking about the Medicare Open Enrollment period when you have the opportunity to decide if your Medicare plan is still the best plan to meet your medical needs for next year.
You should have received and read the “Annual Notice of Change” from your current Medicare plan describing any changes for next year. Then as part of your annual review, you should ask three important questions. Does your plan allow you to go to the providers you want, such as your doctor or pharmacy? Are your prescription drugs covered? And is the plan cost effective? If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, particularly consider the latter question, because for some 2015 Advantage Plans the monthly premium has increased substantially. But the increases may be worth it – or not, and that is the choice you make.
There are several ways to compare plans. You can visit Medicare.gov/find-a-plan and use the Medicare Plan Finder, read the “Medicare & You” handbook to see a listing of plans in your county, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) where help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends.
If you would rather talk to someone in person, you can call the Center and schedule an appointment with a trained SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) volunteer.
Make sure you use this opportunity to compare plans and choose the best one for your needs. You don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised in 2015.
I apologize to everyone who came to the Center for their flu shot last Wednesday. But the good news is that the flu shot clinic has been rescheduled for Wednesday October 15th from 10:00 to 2:00 - just in time for the beginning of the flu season.
There will be plenty of the higher-dose vaccine that is recommended for adults over 65. As we age, our immune system weakens, and the higher-dose vaccine contains a larger dose of antigen which for many older adults provides a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against the flu.
The flu should be taken seriously by older adults and your best protection is a flu shot. If you haven’t already received your flu shot, the Center is an easy and convenient location so you can be protected for the upcoming flu season.
Because the AARP Smart Driver Class is upstairs and Zumba Gold downstairs, there will not be Tuesday Lecture on the 21st. But on October 28th, Mary E. Zenorini, a Behavioral Health Consultant with MCMC, will speak about Depression in Older Adults.
Besides the Center’s Tuesday Night Music and Dance (Truman will be playing his Country Gold starting at 7:00 on October 21st), the Meals-on-Wheels folks have scheduled music before and after lunch, four times a month. On the first and third Thursdays, the popular Tom Graff performs, and then on the second and fourth Tuesdays, music is provided by Andre Lemoreaux.
When’s the last time you took a driver’s test? Can you imagine anything has changed since then? If so, you will want to call the Center and sign up for the October AARP Smart Driver class where you will learn the current rules of the road, defensive driving skills and how to adjust to the inevitable physical changes as we age. And for the cost conscious, you can receive a discount on your car insurance. The next class is on October 20th and 21st from 9:00 – 12:00. The cost is $20 and $15 for AARP members.
It was the platinum blonde Marilyn Monroe who said “What do I wear to bed. Why, Chanel No.5, of course”. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Lyn Dalton.)
For the last several “Remember When” questions, I have used quotes from movies and television, songs and celebrities, and the art world. Now this week it is the world of political intrigue. During the 50’s the fear of communism was pervasive - even reaching into the U.S. Army. What U.S. Senator, who in 1952 became chair of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, was asked during the 1954 Army hearings televised live on ABC “Have you left no sense of decency?” E-mail your answer to email@example.com, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a 1954 picture of Massachusetts attorney Joseph Welch.
Well, it’s been another week enjoying the ride even with all the random bumps and bruises. Until we meet again, remember the lessons learned from the mistakes forgotten.
“Everywhere is within walking distance - if you have the time.” Steven Wright