By BARBARA JENSEN

Executive Director

Senior Center

of Finney County

In last week's column, we discussed briefly the difference between Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage. This week, I want to review some options if you are struggling to pay all your premiums.

Medicare Savings Plan and "Extra Help" can help with your premiums if you meet certain income requirements. You should complete an application for either if:

You have Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B

You meet the resource limits

You meet the total monthly income limits set below:

Medicare Savings Programs are Qualifying Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), Limited Income Medicare Beneficiary (LMB) and Expanded Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (ELMB). QMB has an individual monthly income limit of $923 (couples $1,235). LMB monthly limits are $1,103 ($1,477 for couples). ELMB monthly income limits are $1,239 ($1,660 for couples). Each will pay part or all of the Part A, B and D premiums, co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance. Resource limits are $4,000 for individuals and $6,000 for married couples.

Extra Help is the savings plan that helps with premiums, co-pays and co-insurance for your Medicare Part D. You can apply for this any time during the year. For Extra Help, the annual resource limits are $12,510 for individuals or $25,010 for married couples. Monthly income is $1,354 for individuals and $1,821 for couples.

You do not count your home, one vehicle, personal possessions, burial plots or burial plans. Either of these programs can provide substantial help with paying your health care expenses. If you believe you may qualify for either program, contact the Senior Center at 272-3620 for an appointment. We have the forms and can help you complete them. You also can apply for Extra Help by accessing the Social Security Web site at www.ssa.gov.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS meets at 8:30 a.m., followed by the art class at 10. The Ambassador Singers practice at 1 p.m. A Domino Tournament is scheduled for 1 p.m. The Low Vision Support Group will have their monthly meeting at 3 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by STEPS at 10. St. Catherine Hospital has a nurse available from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks and other consulting. Bridge is played in the afternoon. The monthly covered dish dinner for the Finney County Senior Citizens Association will begin at 6 p.m. Willis Pracht is the scheduled entertainment for the evening.

Saturday: The pool room will be open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday: No activities are planned.

Monday: Stretching exercises start at 8:30 a.m. STEPS begin at 10 a.m. The Humdinger Band practices at 12:30 p.m. Double pinochle begins at 12:45 p.m. The Upbeats begin practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: The Craft Shop meeting starts at 10 a.m. Pitch begins at 12:45 p.m., bridge is at 7 p.m., and open pool starts at 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 10: Foot clinic appointments are available by calling 272-3620. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. The dance begins at 7:30 p.m., with the Pruitt Band. Note: The computer lab and pool room are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, new carpeting and tile are being installed in the Senior Center over the next month. Please excuse our mess during this time.

Upcoming activities

Patti Thummel will teach a class on making Valentine cards on Feb. 11. The cost of the class is $2. Space is limited, so sign up early by calling 272-3620.

Also, watch for information on the upcoming Mardi Gras fun on Feb. 16. The afternoon will feature pancake races and games, bingo and a pancake supper.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Swiss steak with tomatoes, peas, perfection gelatin salad, wheat bread, peaches.

Friday: Chicken Parmesan, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts with cheese sauce, wheat roll, blueberry crisp.

Monday: Barbecue meatballs, Corn O'Brien, tomatoes, French bread, rosy applesauce.

Tuesday: Roasted turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed cabbage, lemon bars, wheat roll.

Feb. 10: Smothered steak with onions, baked potato, green beans, fruit muffin, angel cake with strawberries.

Check out the Senior Center Web site at www.seniorcenterfc.com.