With the Affordable Care Act in the news, seniors have been asking "how does this affect my Medicare?" The simple answer is "it doesn't." Generally speaking, if you have Medicare, you won't see any changes in your coverage. There have been changes in Medicare since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, but those benefits have been in place for a couple of years.
Open enrollment for the Marketplace began Oct. 1 and ends March 31, 2014. Open enrollment for Medicare Part D begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. This over-lapping has also caused a lot of confusion.
The following information provided by the National Council on Aging should help clear up some questions.
The Marketplace is not for people with Medicare. Remember, the Marketplace is geared primarily toward those who are under 65 and uninsured, underinsured or seeking additional health coverage options. People with Medicare already have "minimum essential health insurance coverage," so you do not need to consider the Marketplace. In fact, it's illegal for someone to sell you a Marketplace plan if you are enrolled in premium-free Medicare Part A and/or Part B.
People eligible for Medicare cannot get Marketplace subsidies. People who buy a Marketplace plan and then become eligible for Medicare will automatically lose any Marketplace subsidy. The plan will send you notice explaining this. The important message here is make sure you enroll in Medicare on time, during your initial enrollment period. Once enrolled in Medicare, then dis-enroll in the Marketplace plan.
Some people may find the Marketplace an important option. Most people with Medicare will not need to consider the Marketplace. However, there are some exceptions: People under 65, disabled and waiting for Medicare eligibility. Most people under 65 are eligible for Medicare after collecting Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for 24 months (people with ESRD and ALS are eligible for Medicare sooner). The Marketplace is an important option for these people to consider while they wait for Medicare. Also, there is a small group who have not earned enough working credit and, therefore, are not entitled to premium-free Part A. They have to buy Part A, which is currently $411 per month. These people may want to carefully weigh their options between paying for Medicare versus buying a Marketplace plan. However, if they choose the Marketplace plan, they need to know that they will have a late-enrollment penalty for not enrolling in Medicare on time which can become quite costly.
For more information about the Marketplace you can visit www.healthcare.gov (the official Marketplace website) or contact the Marketplace call center (available 24/7) at (800) 318-2596.
Thanks for help
Many thanks to all the volunteers who delivered Meals on Wheels last week. Are you interested in helping with Meals on Wheels? Substitute drivers are always needed. If you would like to help, call Patti at 272-3620 or 260-6282.
Thursday begins with TOPS Club at 9 a.m., followed by art class at 10 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., we will learn from Sarah Tighe, fitness director at the YMCA, and Jessica King, physical therapist with St. Catherine Hospital. They will speak about PREP — Physicians Referral Exercise Prescription. The Ambassador Singers will practice at 1 p.m. Skip-Bo begins at 1 p.m. Yoga begins at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, the day begins with line dancing at 8:30 a.m. A nurse from St. Catherine Hospital will be here from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge starts at 12:45 p.m.
Saturday, the pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.
Monday, we have double pinochle at 12:30 p.m. Zumba has been postponed for a few weeks. Watch this column for more information later. Duplicate bridge starts at 7 p.m.
Tuesday has walking at 8:30 a.m. Gentle exercises are at 11 a.m. Pitch starts at 12:30 p.m. Bridge begins at 1:15 p.m. Open enrollment begins for Medicare Part D. Call 272-3620 to get an appointment. Appointments are required.
Oct. 16 has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. Legal aid begins again with appointments. Call 272-3620 for an appointment with an attorney. TOPS 1116 meets at 10 a.m. Pinochle meets at 12:40 p.m. The regular Wednesday night dance features the Moonshiners. The recommended donation is $5 per person. Come join the fun.
Lunch is served at noon.
Thursday: Baked ham, sweet potatoes, California blend vegetables, cherry crisp, wheat roll.
Friday: Chicken and stuffing, Harvard beets, tropical fruit salad, wheat roll.
Monday: Beef and noodles, Scandinavian vegetables, strawberries and pears, wheat bread.
Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan, baked potato, peas and carrots, orange slices, wheat roll.
Oct. 16: Swiss steak with tomatoes, mashed potatoes, steamed cabbage, apricots, wheat roll.
Celebrating 35 years at the Senior Center of Finney County. Check out our website at www.seniorcenterfc.com.