Medicare Part D Summer 2005
Medicare Part D
Summer is here. Many people are off to share cooler climes with family. For those who remain in Princeton, many programs will continue. In addition, we are offering a respite with a weekly movie series and Trade-a-book table. The staff at PSRC is busy planning activities for the Fall. We have another exciting Evergreen Forum semester starting in late September, with registration starting right after Labor Day. We have begun planning a “Plan for the Future Day” on October 1 with Vivian Greenberg as keynote speaker, and Flu Shots are scheduled for November 10 and 18. This year, we will be offering health screenings along with the Flu Shots. We will also do a workshop for long-distance caregivers.
PSRC welcomes Abigail Waugh as LINK and Outreach Director. Abigail grew up in Princeton and recently earned an MSW from Smith College. She will be a part of the social service team at Spruce Circle and visiting people in the community.
MEDICARE PART D: PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT
I just returned from a conference on the upcoming White House Conference on Aging, sponsored by the New Jersey Foundation for the Aging. I attended an excellent workshop on the upcoming roll-out of Medicare Part D on January 1, 2006.
This is something of interest to all of you with Medicare. You will soon begin to receive a lot of mail on this, which is likely to be confusing. Those of you with low incomes may already be getting forms from Social Security or PAAD that must be filled out. Please contact us or a SHIP counselor if you have questions. We will hold a first information session on June 27 at 11 am, and host a full workshop at the October 1 Plan for the Future Day on this topic. Here are some of the things I learned. New information will continue to be made available over the next 6 months as details are worked out, such as who the approved Plan Providers will be in NJ.
If you currently receive PAAD, and your reported income is estimated to be under $14,355-single ($19,245 couple) per month, you have recently received a form asking you to report your assets as well as your income. The purpose of this letter is to evaluate whether you are eligible for federal assistance to pay for your Part D entitlement. The assets will not affect your PAAD eligibility. You must complete and return the form by July 6. If eligible, you will receive another letter in the fall regarding enrollment. You will not have to pay for Part D and your copay will continue to be $5 per prescription, with Federal funds subsidizing PAAD.
Social Security is also sending letters to individuals it has identified as possibly being eligible for federal assistance, based on your social security income. You must complete the application form to receive this assistance.
If you currently receive PAAD, and your reported income is over $14,355, you will not receive this first letter as you are not eligible for federal assistance. You will continue to receive PAAD with a $5 copay. This entire benefit will be subsidized by New Jersey funds. If you currently receive Senior Gold, wait for further instructions.
If you currently receive both Medicare and Medicaid, your prescriptions will no longer be paid for by Medicaid, but will be paid by Medicare. You must select a plan or you will be automatically enrolled. You will now have a copay for each prescription.
If you currently have prescription coverage with your past employer plan, the employer has four options: a) offer a comparable or better prescription plan, b) provide no coverage, c) become a plan provider, e) supplement the Medicare plan. Some may opt to pay the Plan D premium for you.
If you have a Medicare HMO or PPO plan, this provider will be your prescription plan provider, unless you switch. If you have traditional Medicare or if you are newly turning 65, you MUST choose a plan provider in the designated time period. There is a penalty for opting to sign up later. Medicare Part D is an optional benefit, like Part B.
The monthly cost of the Part D benefit is estimated to be about $37 per month for 2006. There may be some differences between plans. There are a multitude of other bits of information about Part D that will not fit on this page. We will host an information session to help those who have received forms from Medicare or Social Security on June 27 at 11 am at the Suzanne Patterson Building, and offer a full workshop on October 1 at Plan for the Future Day.
Don’t forget about the Mercer County Prescription Savings Card for a 10-50% savings. For more information call 1-800-633-0037. Rx4NJ also offers qualified residents discounted or free prescriptions. Go to www.rx4nj.org or call 1-888-793-6765.
Susan W. Hoskins LCSW
- POWER NAPS- Scientists say that many of us are sleep-deprived, and that everyone has a mid-day drop in alertness, about 8 hours after waking. A power nap at this time can improve alertness, memory, creativity, concentration, mood and energy. They can also reduce stress-induced hypertension and heart attacks. The key is to make sure that your nap is no longer than 15-20 minutes, or you will feel groggy and may have trouble sleeping at night. (Home Health Spring 2005).
- THE KEYS TO LIVING TO 100- from the Centernarian Study (K. Ferrin, What’s Age Got To Do With It). The determinants are 70% lifestyle and 30% genetics.
Ø Attitude: Feel good about yourself
Ø Engagemet: Stay involved
Ø Activity & Mobility: Maintain activities of daily living, walk
Ø Adaptability to Loss
Ø Faith & spirituality: To make sense of things that don’t
People living today are spending 1/3 of their life in retirement. The number of people over 65 will double by 2050. 1 in 3 girls born today will live to be 100.
- HELP FOR CAREGIVERS- a study by Johns Hopkins found that 41% of family caregivers are willing to accept help from outside sources, but that they prefer that such help come from local community or religious organizations. 80% of congregations in the US report that they offer some form of caregiving assistance, but most admit that they are serving a small portion of those in need and they have a limited range of services to offer. Make sure that your faith community knows that PSRC can help older adults, their caregivers AND the community supporting the caregiver.
- MEDICARE PREVENTIVE SCREENINGS- Medicare has recently approved payment for some preventive screenings for diabetes and cardiovascular health, as well as a physical for new enrollees and tobacco cessation support. Ask your doctor about them!
Susan W. Hoskins LCSW
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Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity
Write your own obituary
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Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning
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V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008
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Medicare Part D Summer 2005
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