By BARBARA JENSEN

Executive Director

Senior Center of Finney County

We recently completed the process of choosing a Medicare Part D plan. Open enrollment was Nov. 15 through Dec. 31. Now is the time to consider a change in a Medicare Supplement if you have one. The deadline to change your supplement is March 31.

Original Medicare is the traditional fee-for-service coverage offered directly through the federal government. Under original Medicare, the government pays directly for the health-care services you receive. You can see any doctor who takes Medicare anywhere in the country and you go directly to the doctor or hospital when you need care. You do not need to get special permission. You pay a monthly premium and co-insurance for each service you receive. There are limits on how much the doctor can charge. To fill in the deductibles and co-insurance you can purchase private insurance known as Medicare Supplement or Medigap. When shopping for a supplement you can compare apples to apples as they are regulated.

Some people, however, choose a different option known as Medicare Advantage. These private health plans contract with Medicare. They are paid a fixed amount to provide Medicare benefits. They are generally managed care, such as health maintenance organizations, etc. You still have Medicare Parts A and B, but the care is provided with different rules from original Medicare. It is important that you check with your doctor to be certain he/she accepts Medicare Advantage. If they do not, you are responsible for your medical care.

While some Medicare Advantage plans can mean smaller premiums, be sure to read the fine print. Will you have the same coverage as Medicare supplements? What will your out-of-pocket costs be? Will your doctor accept your plan? What will you do if your doctor does not? You will need to study each Advantage plan separately as they are not necessarily comparable.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS meets at 8:30 a.m. Meals on Wheels Committee meets at 9 a.m. Art class meets at 10 a.m. The Ambassador Singers will practice at 1 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by STEPS at 10 a.m. 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.

Saturday: Prairie Land Food pick-up is at 7 a.m. The pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday: Duplicate bridge is played at 2 p.m.

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

Tuesday: Pitch begins at 12:45 p.m., bridge is at 7 p.m., and open pool starts at 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 3: Carly Smith with the Finney County Public Library will be in the building with a selection of books, books on tape and videos. Check out her selection. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. The dance begins at 7:30 p.m. and will feature "The Blue Notes."

Note: The computer lab and pool room are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Upcoming craft classes

Patti Thummel will be teaching 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, games, bingo and a pancake supper.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad, green beans, bread pudding, garlic bread.

Friday: Chuckwagon steak, scalloped potatoes, cabbage, corn bread, yellow cake.

Monday: Sausage and gravy on a biscuit, mashed potatoes, California veggies, fruit cocktail.

Tuesday: Meat loaf, baked potato, pickled beets, wheat roll, strawberries and pears.

Feb. 3: Pork roast, mashed potatoes, winter mix veggies with cheese sauce, fruit muffin, applesauce cake.

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