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Medicare 101 seminar at Beacon of HOPE

July 3, 2019
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

Last Monday morning, Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders delivered a presentation about Medicare at the Beacon of HOPE. SHINE is a free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the local Area Agency on Aging.

Camilita Aldridge is the SHINE program manager for the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida. The free presentation covered the basics of Medicare for those soon to be eligible as well as those currently on Medicare.

"SHINE provides resources to agencies in your area," Aldridge said. "Other than the Medicare counseling and Wellness counseling, we don't provide direct support. We can provide some telephone support for Medicaid application for some."

Article Photos

Camilita Aldridge, SHINE program manager.

ED FRANKS

Participants learned the basics of Medicare Parts A, B, C and D. The program was sponsored by Beth A Prather, P.A.

"Our primary focus is to provide a service that is free and unbiased to educate folks in all aspects of Medicare," Aldridge said. "Eligibility is based on age or disability."

Medicare started in 1965 and consists of two parts: Part A and Part B. Part A helps with your hospital bills, skilled nursing, home health care and hospice. Part B helps with doctors in and out of the hospital, preventive services, diagnostic testing and DME (durable medical equipment such as canes, crutches, hospital beds etc.).

"When you're first eligible, you can enter into A and B or just A if you continue to work past your 65th birthday and your employer has health insurance," Aldridge said.

Medicare Part A is free for everyone that has worked at least 40 quarters in their lifetime or qualifies under their spouses benefit. Part B is for doctors and outpatient coverage this is not free. The monthly premium is $135.50 (if enrolled in 2019) and is automatically deducted from your Social Security check.

"There is an alternative to Medicare and that's Medicare Advantage Plans Part C," Aldridge said. "You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan if you're enrolled in Medicare A and B. This is managed health care through a plan that contracts with Medicare."

Medicare Part D is for prescription drugs. Currently, there are 19 drug plans in Florida. The monthly premium ranges from $0 - $170 (or higher if annual income is over $85,000). The deductible is $0 - $415. Copays and coinsurance is 25% initial coverage, 25% brand and 25% generic drugs.

Medigap insurance is an add-on to Medicare that allows for more flexibility to choose which doctor and provider you will use. Medicare pays 80% of approved care, and Medigap insurance generally covers the other 20%.

SHINE empowers seniors, their caregivers and family members to make informed decisions about health care coverage. SHINE counselors can also help beneficiaries understand benefits available through Medicare, like preventative health care services.

The AAASWFL is a nonprofit organization serving older adults (age 60-up) and adults with disabilities. It serves Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties.

As part of the national Senior Medicare Patrol program, counselors also educate beneficiaries to protect, detect and report potential errors, fraud and abuse with their Medicare coverage.

For more information about the Medicare 101 presentation, or to receive one-on-one Medicare counseling assistance from SHINE, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER). For a listing of SHINE counseling sites and public events in our area, visit www.FloridaSHINE.org.

 
 

 

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