Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older, younger than 65 with certain disabilities and any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

Medicare has Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance), Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), Medicare Part C (combines your Part A and Part B coverage), and Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage).

Medicare Part A helps cover your in-patient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals. It also covers skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care), as well as hospice care and home health care. You must meet certain conditions to get these benefits.

You usually don't pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working.

Medicare Part B helps cover medical services like doctors' services, outpatient care and other medical services that Medicare Part A doesn't cover, if those services are medically necessary for you. Medicare Part B is optional. You have to enroll in Part B and pay a monthly premium. Your monthly premium depends on your income. Part B also covers some preventive services.

You also pay a Medicare Part B ($135) deductible each year before Medicare starts to pay its share. Medicare premium and deductible rates will remain the same next year.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) is another way to get your Medicare benefits. It combines Part A, Part B and sometimes Part D (prescription drug) coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans are managed by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans must cover medically-necessary services. However, plans can charge different co-payment, co-insurance or deductibles for these services.

Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) is available to everyone with Medicare. Private companies approved by Medicare provide this coverage. If you are in Original Medicare, you choose a separate Medicare Prescription Drug Plan and pay a monthly premium.

Beginning now you could be receiving, through the mail, information about your Medicare coverage. Please read it carefully. I do caution you to make sure the correspondence is from Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and has the insignia of the Department of Health & Human Services, USA with the eagle. All other information could be just a ploy for funds. Many lobby groups use this time to raise funds.

This information comes from CMS Publication No. 02179.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS will meet at 8:30 a.m. Art class will meet at 10 a.m. Ambassador Singers will practice at 1 p.m. A Domino Tournament is scheduled for 1 p.m., with prizes for first, second and third places.

Friday: Walking Group will meet at Valley View Cemetery at 8:30 a.m. Bridge is played at 1 p.m. Prairie Land Food deadline is at 4 p.m. Senior Citizen Association will host a covered dish at 6 p.m., with musical entertainment.

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

Sunday: No activities are scheduled.

Monday: Walking Group meets at the Wildlife Park on Mary Street at 8:30 a.m. Humdinger Band will meet at 12:30 p.m. Bridge and double pinochle are played at 1 p.m. Finney County Transit Committee will meet at 2 p.m. Upbeats will practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m. Duplicate bridge begins at 1:15 p.m. Finney County Committee on Aging will have their monthly meeting at 3:30 p.m. Bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Aug. 12: Foot clinic is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 272-3620 for an appointment. Line dancing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. There is a para in the Computer Lab from 1 to 4 p.m. Pinochle is played at 1 p.m. The Sewing Group meets at 1 p.m. (bring your project and join other "sewers"). The Senior Citizens Association will host a dance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The band playing is "Blue Notes" (bring finger food for the break).

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Taco salad, refried beans, tortilla chips, sherbet.

Friday ("Fresh Fruit Friday"): Sweet and sour chicken, steamed rice, broccoli, rosy applesauce, whole wheat bread.

Monday: Polish sausage with bun, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, melon mix.

Tuesday: Chicken enchiladas, corn, broccoli, cherry crisp, whole wheat roll,

Aug. 12: Bierock casserole, carrots, tossed salad, fruited gelatin, fruit muffin.

Visit the Senior Center of Finney County Web site at