Senior Gazette

Spring 2006
Carol Schmitkons, Amherst Township Senior Service

Medicare Changes for 2006

Since the last newsletter, I have been helping many seniors from very diverse backgrounds decide which Medicare Part D prescription drug plan is best for them.  I have found this to be enjoyable and rewarding work.  Here are some of the things I have learned from my counseling sessions:

  • Currently taking no meds:  Wait to apply until May.  This will save you money by avoiding 6 month’s worth of premiums.
  • Only taking 1 or 2 medications:  Find out which plan is best for you now.  Then, determine when you want to enroll.  Many people who fall into this category are pleasantly surprised to find that they can save about 50% on the cost of their medications.
  • Low income, but not on Medicaid:  You may be eligible for additional assistance but you need to fill out a separate application for this.  It is not part of the drug card enrollment process.  If you are accepted for this program, your premiums and deductibles may be reduced or eliminated, your co-insurance and co-pay amounts may be reduced, and your coverage gap may be eliminated
  • Transitional assistance leftover from 2005:  You may continue to use this until May 15th as long as you have not enrolled in a drug plan.  Wait until May to pick a drug plan.

Are you frustrated by all this new information?  If you don’t like long waits on the phone while trying to enroll, or you have trouble hearing or understanding what’s being said, or you don’t have access to a computer in order to sign up...DON’T GIVE UP!!!  I am here to help and I would love to hear from you!!!  Just call 988-5822.  I can often get all the information that I need to run the plan comparisons from you over the phone, and enrollment can even be done over the phone.

Items needed for plan comparisons:

  • Information from your Medicare card
  • The names of your medications, their strengths and how often you take them
  • Your favorite pharmacy or the names of up to 3 pharmacies you would like to compare prices on.

Once your plans are picked based on the medications you take, then you can decide whether the cheapest plan is really the best for you.  We will also look at the difference between plans with deductibles and those without, and how the plan’s formulary affects the medications that your doctor prescribes for you.

OFFICE HOURS:  8:00 A.M. – NOON  (M-F)

Community Information & Resources

Perhaps you have trouble making ends meet, you don’t like to cook, or your doctor says you need a more nutritious diet.  The Amherst Township Senior Service Office has the perfect solution for you.  We have contracted with Golden Acres to prepare a hot lunch for any adult over 60 enrolled in our home-delivered meal program.  They take into consideration your personal likes & dislikes and your special dietary needs.  Why not call our office at 988-5822 to find out just how much our healthy meals would cost you?

Due to a lack of interest, we will not be scheduling exercise classes at this time.

The Amherst Public Library (at 988-4230) is offering a three-day basic introduction to computers that covers basic computer use, basic Internet use, and basic email.  Call the library at the beginning of any month to reserve a place in the class.

Also, beginning February 1st through April 14th, the Amherst Public Library is offering AARP Tax-Aide Counseling on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Noon until 3 p.m.  Call the library to make an appointment.

Emergency Information for People with Disabilities

The following information has been reproduced from “The Senior Years” with permission from the Lorain County Office on Aging.  An identification card and form for people with disabilities has been developed by the Lorain County Board of Commissioners in conjunction with:

  • The Lorain County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • LEAP and ADA Coordinators in this area
  • The Murray Ridge Center
  • The Retired Senior Volunteer Program

This card and form will allow local emergency responders quick access to important information concerning your needs during a large-scale emergency.  An Identification Card will be sent to you to be kept in your purse, wallet, etc.  The form is to be filled out and mailed to the Lorain County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.  The information, which will remain confidential, will be entered into a spreadsheet and given only to the emergency responders in your jurisdiction.

Please print legibly when filling out the form, which is on the next page.  Return the form as soon as possible.  It is for your own protection.

Click here to view and print the pdf version of the Emergency Information for People with Disabilities form.