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What are all those letters, anyway?

Are you new to Medicare and lost or confused by all the literature you have received?

Do you know which portions you need to enroll in A, B, C, D?

What the heck are all those letters anyway?

Did you know you are entitled to certain free services?

Well, we have answers for you in Medicare 101.

Join us for this informative session on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 10:30 a.m., but come with an empty head, ‘cause we are gonna fill it up.

Registration is required, seating is limited. Call 264-2167.

Drug premiums

Medicare prescription drug premiums are projected to remain steady for a third straight year (information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Coverage improves and out-of-pocket savings grow as a result of the health care law.

Average basic premiums for Medicare prescription drug plans are projected to remain constant in 2013, Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius announced today.? The average 2013 monthly premium for basic prescription drug coverage is expected to be $30. Average premiums for 2012 were projected to be $30 and ultimately averaged $29.67.? At the same time, since the law was enacted, seniors and people with disabilities have saved $3.9 billion on prescription drugs as the Affordable Care Act began closing the “donut hole” coverage gap.

“Premiums are holding steady and, thanks to the health care law, millions of people with Medicare are saving an average of over $600 each year on their prescription drugs,” said Secretary Sebelius.?

Today’s projection for the average premium for 2013 is based on bids submitted by drug and health plans for basic coverage during the 2013 benefit year, and calculated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary.?

The upcoming annual enrollment period , which begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7, 2012, allows people with Medicare, their families and their caregivers to choose their plans for next year by comparing their current coverage and quality ratings to other plan offerings. New benefit choices are effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, out-of-pocket savings on medications for people with Medicare continue to grow.? Last month, CMS announced that more than 5.2 million people with Medicare have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D donut hole since the law was enacted.? In the first half of 2012, over 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs, averaging $629 per person this year.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the coverage gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will be fully closed.? This year, people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 14 percent coverage of generic drugs in the donut hole. In 2013, Medicare Part D’s coverage of brand name drugs will begin to increase, meaning that people with Medicare will receive? a total of 52.5 percent off the cost of? brand name drugs (a 50 percent discount and an additional 2.5 percent in coverage) and coverage for 21 percent of the cost of generic drugs in the donut hole.

For more information on how the Affordable Care Act closes the Medicare drug benefit donut hole, visit www.healthcare.gov/law/features/65-older/drug-discounts/index.html.

Hand and Foot

Learn to play Hand and Foot, a card game that is fun and challenging. Any number of people can play as individuals or play as partners. We’re starting a new class on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 1 p.m. Rita Werner and Cathy Van Liere will help get you started. Hope to see you there for an afternoon of cards and conversation

Art show

We have been enjoying the photo display of Navy photographer Rob Gaston and now it’s time for our next artist’s work. Who will it be? Do you have photos, paintings, etc. that you would like to display on our dining room walls for the senior diners to enjoy? If so, please contact me at 264-2167.

Presentations

Do you have something fun to offer in a presentation at The Den? I haven’t heard a peep from anyone and I know you are out there. If you would like to share your adventures, skills, experiences with others, I’d love to hear from you. Call me at 264-2167.

Dental assistance

The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA) has grant funds from the Administration on Aging (AoA) of up to $300 per person. To ensure the continuation of grant funding, you will get a letter from the SJBAAA suggesting a minimum contribution of 10% (i.e. $30.00).

Please observe the following program guidelines:

1.Title III Older Americans Act grant funds will assist seniors, ages 60-plus in the following areas only: fluoride varnishing, fillings for cavities, tooth extractions, cleaning and overall preventive care for maximum oral health.

There is a high priority to serve low and very low income individuals, age 60 years and older.

For further information, visit www.sjbaaa.org/links.html or call 264-0501.

More assistance

San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, Title III B & E Services Grant is being administered for 2012 by the Visiting Angels Home Care Agency in Pagosa Springs.

To apply you must be over 60 years old and not on Medicaid.

Special consideration is being given to veterans who are waiting for their Aid and Assistance Benefit to come through.

It will provide some funds, but is limited to $500 with a small copay, to assist the elderly with homemaking to include fixing meals, planning menus, doing light housekeeping, laundry or changing beds. Also personal care needs are covered such as dressing and bathing assistance, general personal care and supervision to prevent falls, medications reminders and companionship. Other chores around the house like yard work, light home maintenance or installing grab bars or wheelchair ramps, could be done. Contact Chris Smith at Visiting Angels, 264-5991, to apply.

Reservations, please

You now need to make reservations to dine at Cafe Fox. We have set out about a week’s worth of reservation lists, enabling you to sign up in advance. If you are already at Cafe Fox, stop at the front desk and we’ll help you with your reservation, or call by 9 a.m. of the morning you would like to join us, if we are unable to make it to the phone, leave a message. For you computer savvy folks, we have added a link to our website; visit www.archluetacounty.org, select County Departments and then Senior Services, you’ll see the Meal Reservation link. Make your reservation today at 264-2167.

Free Wi Fi

Cafe Fox is pleased to announce the availability of free Wi Fi courtesy of the Ross Aragon Community Center. Join us for lunch and enjoy free Wi Fi while you’re at it.

Help

Like to help out?

We need you. ?

So far I’ve had one welcome response to my plea for help. If you can help out I’d love to hear from you.

In addition to help needed in the kitchen, I am looking for a writer to help out with the weekly article. One idea for a writer would be to interview our Senior of the Week. Perhaps you or others have ideas; I sure would love to hear from you.

We are currently accepting applications for volunteers in our kitchen and dining room.

Is chopping, slicing, dicing, prepping and stirring your middle name? If so, then we need you, and several of you at that. We’d love to have you aboard.

Like to greet people and lend a hand? We have the perfect opportunity for you. We are looking for a few people who would like to greet our folks, introduce new clients to our services, show them the ropes of the dining room and offer assistance to those needing help filling out our new client form. Please call me at 264-2167 for an application.

Transportation

Get out in the community and let us do the driving! Get to where you need to go; door to door bus service available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and the second and fourth Thursdays for seniors age 60-plus, suggested donation $2 per day. Come hang out with us and enjoy our company. Call for details, 264-2167.

Special delivery

Are you struggling to get meals prepared because you are homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness? Let us do the cooking. Enjoy Cafe Fox meals delivered to your door. Our hot meal, home delivered program is available to those closer to town 4 days per week, and frozen meals for Thursdays and weekends. For those living further out of town you may be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $4 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.?

Weekly activities

Friday, Aug. 31 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 Book Club; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

Monday, Aug. 27 — 12:30 p.m. Gym walk; 1 p.m. Canasta.

Tuesday, Aug. 28 — 10:30 a.m. Visually Impaired Persons Support Group; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, Aug. 29 — No scheduled events.

Thursday, Aug. 30 — Pancake fund-raiser 7:30-11 a.m., by donation.

Friday, Aug. 31 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen;12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

This week’s menu

Reservations required by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine at Cafe Fox.

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $4, guests $6, kids 12 and under $3. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal, which is approximately $10.50. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m. Call 264-2167 for reservations.

Friday, Aug. 24 — Picnic in the Park: barbecue beef brisket, cream coleslaw, ranch beans, whole wheat roll, half fresh orange.

Monday, Augu. 27— Porcupine meatballs, whipped potatoes, peas and carrots, tossed salad, whole wheat bread, almond peaches.

Tuesday, Aug.28 — Pork chop, roasted sweet potatoes, Brussle sprouts, apple sauce, berry parfait.

Wednesday, Aug. 29 — Lemon baked fish, oven browned potatoes, peas and carrots, tossed salad, whole wheat roll, vanilla ice cream with banana and strawberries.

Thursday, Aug. 30-Pancake breakfast fund-raiser, 7:30–11 a.m.

Friday, Aug 31-Terayki chicken, couscous with dried cranberries and almonds, peas, tomato/cucumber salad, half banana, pineapple upside down cake.

Remember, reservations are now required, 264-2167.

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