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Special presentation at The Den by patient navigator

SUN Columnist

Cardiovascular patient navigator Connie Cook, from Pagosa Springs Medical Center, will be at the Senior Center at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, to share information on the service offered to patients who have, or are at risk for, cardiovascular disease.

Risk factors include high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol values, family history of heart attack or stroke, diabetes or pre-diabetes, carrying extra weight and smoking.

The patient navigator can provide important resources, tools and guidance to assist patients in reducing their risk factors, understanding diagnoses and treatment plan options, health coverage and financial assistance programs and information, self-management of chronic disease and getting the right care at the right time.

Medicare open enrollment

Rescreen your prescription drug plan every year; don’t wait. Call now for an appointment

Medicare open enrollment continues to Dec. 7.

Medicare is stronger than ever with more benefits, better choices and lower costs to beneficiaries. Expanded Medicare benefits under the health care law (the Affordable Care Act) continue to be available, including certain free preventive benefits, cancer screenings and an annual wellness visit. Whether you choose Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, take advantage of Open Enrollment to review cost, coverage or both for next year (2014).

• More benefits: Certain preventive benefits, including cancer screenings, are available with no cost to patients when furnished by qualified and participating health professionals. The annual wellness visit allows people to sit down and discuss with their doctor their health care needs and the best ways to stay healthy.

• Better choices: Medicare will notify beneficiaries about plan performance and use its online Plan Finder to encourage enrollment in quality plans.

• Lower costs: Average premiums for 2014 for prescription drug coverage and Medicare health plans will remain stable. People who are in the “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit will enjoy approximately 53 percent discounts on covered brand name drugs and see increased savings on generic drugs.

The new Health Insurance Marketplace won’t affect your Medicare coverage and is not part of Medicare Open Enrollment. Medicare is not part of the Health Insurance Marketplace. You do not need to enroll in the new Health Insurance Marketplace to maintain or change your Medicare coverage.

Your health needs change from year to year. And, your health plan may change the benefits and costs each year, too. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your Medicare choices regularly. Open Enrollment is the one time of year when all people with Medicare can see what new benefits Medicare has to offer and make changes to their coverage.

It’s worth it to take the time to review and compare, but you don’t have to do it alone. Medicare is available to help.

• Call your local SHIP office (located at the Senior Center) at 264-2167 for an appointment to help navigate you through the process and provide information

• Visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are available in your area, and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.

• Call 1-800-633-4227 24 hours a day/seven days a week to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

• Review the “Medicare & You” 2014 handbook. It is mailed to people with Medicare in September.

• If you have limited income and resources, you may be able to get Extra Help paying your prescription drug coverage costs.

Extra Help 

Medicare’s “Extra Help” program helps people with limited income to pay for their prescription medications

Making ends meet should not mean going without your medications. If you have limited income and resources, Medicare’s “Extra Help” program sets it up so this year you might pay no more than $2.60 for each generic drug and $6.50 for each brand name drug. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that more than 2 million people with Medicare may be eligible for the subsidy, but are not currently enrolled to take advantage of these savings. A recent law changed how your income and assets are counted:

• Life insurance policies do not count as resources.

• Any help you get from relatives, friends and others to pay for household expenses — like food, mortgage, rent, heating fuel or gas, electricity, water, and property taxes — does not count as income.

Many people qualify and don’t know it.

The changes that took place in 2010 allowed more people than ever to qualify for “Extra Help.” Even if you were previously turned down for “Extra Help” due to income or resource levels, you should reapply. If you qualify, you will get help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums, copayments and deductibles. To qualify, you must make less than $16,755 a year (or $22,695 for married couples). Even if your annual income is higher, you still may be able to get some extra help. Your resources must also be limited to $13,070 (or $26,120 for married couples). Resources include bank accounts, stocks and bonds, but not your house or car.

There’s no cost or obligation to apply.

It’s easy and free to apply for “Extra Help.” You or a family member, trusted counselor, or caregiver can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescription help or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778). All the information you give is confidential. Medicare beneficiaries can also receive assistance in their local communities from their State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at 264-2167.

To learn more about Medicare prescription drug coverage, visit www.medicare.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Chauffeur service

Your ride awaits you.

Catch our door-to-door bus and get out in the community while we do the driving. Get to where you need to go: grocery store, doctor’s office, pharmacy, hardware store, visit a friend, lunch at Cafe Fox or …?

The service is available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday for seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day.

What are you waiting for? Call for details, 264-2167.

Delivered meals

Are you struggling to get meals prepared because you are homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness?

If so, let us do the cooking. Enjoy Cafe Fox meals delivered to your door.

Our hot meal, home delivery program is available four days per week to those living closer to town, with frozen meals for Thursdays and weekends. Those living farther out of town may be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal.

Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.

Weekly activities at The Den

Friday, Nov. 8 — 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 12:30 p.m. gym walk.

Monday, Nov. 11 — Closed, Veteran’s Day.

Tuesday, Nov. 12 — Gym walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing, Medicare counseling by appointment.

Wednesday, Nov. 13 — 11 a.m. blood pressure checks, nutrition education; 12:30 p.m. patient navigator services; 1 p.m. Hand and Foot card game.

Thursday, Nov. 14 — Medicare counseling by appointment.

Friday, Nov. 15 — 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 12:30 p.m. gym walk.

Cafe Fox menu

All meals include our great salad bar.

Friday, Nov. 8 — Sloppy joes, mixed veggies, spinach/Mandarin salad, brownie.

Monday, Nov. 11 — Closed, Veteran’s Day.

Tuesday, Nov. 12 — Beef taco, salsa, refried beans, fiesta corn, salad, winter fruit salad.

Wednesday, Nov. 13 — Crunchy fish, tarter sauce, whipped sweet potatoes, creamy coleslaw, mixed veggies, banana.

Thursday, Nov. 14 — Closed.

Friday, Nov. 15 — Red beans and rice, corn bread, orange wedge, peach cobbler with whipped topping, banana.

Reservations are required by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine at Cafe Fox. For your convenience, you can make your reservation up to one week in advance (call 264-2167), on our website at www.archuletacounty.org, at select departments and at the Senior Center.

Suggested donation for older adults age 60 plus is $4, guests $6. 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 individual donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $12.85. 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.

This story was posted on November 7, 2013.