Last week this column discussed the Affordable Care Act Marketplace and how it affects Medicare. This week's column covers what the Marketplace means for people ages 55 to 64.
People who are uninsured, underinsured or do not have access to affordable health care should review their options in the Marketplace. If eligible, they can get subsidies to help pay for their Marketplace plan premium (in the form of refundable and advanceable tax credits for people with incomes 100 percent to 400 percent federal poverty level) and cost-sharing (for people with incomes 100 percent and 250 percent of federal poverty level). They also will get screened for Medicaid eligibility.
The subsidies only apply to plans in the Marketplace; they cannot be applied to individual plans sold outside the Marketplace. Although people still can purchase health plans in the individual market, those eligible for subsidies only can use them for plans purchased in the Marketplace.
Once they become eligible for and enroll in Medicare, they likely will not need their Marketplace plan. This is because people with Medicare cannot get the Marketplace subsidies, so the Marketplace likely will be too expensive for them. Enrollees will need to contact the Marketplace plan to disenroll from the Marketplace plan. They should sign up for Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period, or else face a possible lifetime penalty later.
People who get Medicare because of a disability may have questions about the Marketplace. The Marketplace is an important option while they wait for Medicare eligibility (24 months, for most). However, once eligible for Medicare, they will lose any Marketplace premium and cost-sharing subsidies, so they should be sure to enroll in Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period.
People who currently get coverage through PCIPs will need to take action. Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) coverage terminates on Dec. 31, 2013. Anyone with PCIP coverage should consider the Marketplace. And, they must apply for a Marketplace plan before Dec. 15 to avoid a gap in coverage. (If they enroll from Dec. 16 to 31, their Marketplace coverage will not start until Feb. 1, 2014.) People with PCIP coverage should get a number of notices from their PCIP plan this fall to remind them to choose a Marketplace plan.
For more information about the Marketplace, visit www.healthcare.gov (the official Marketplace website) or contact the Marketplace call center, available 24/7, directly 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. The Ambassador Singers 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 is the 47th annual Finney County Senior Citizens Association Bazaar and Collector's Show. The doors will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Do some early Christmas shopping. Meet your friends here for soup and sandwiches. The pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.
Sunday has duplicate bridge at 2 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 begins 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.
Oct. 23 has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. TOPS 1116 meets at 10 a.m. Pinochle starts at 12:40 p.m. The regular Wednesday night dance features the "Oklahoma Cowboy." The recommended donation is $5 per person. Come join the fun.
Lunch is served at noon.
Thursday: Roast turkey, potatoes and gravy, broccoli, pumpkin pie cake, wheat roll.
Friday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, corn, tossed salad, applesauce, French bread.
Monday: Chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, pineapple.
Tuesday: Roast beef, scalloped potatoes, California blend vegetables, bread pudding, wheat roll.
Oct. 23: Tahitian chicken, tri tators, Italian vegetables, pudding, wheat roll.
Celebrating 35 years at the Senior Center of Finney County. Check out our website at www.seniorcenterfc.com.