Medicare time! Do you know what to do? – Emporia Gazette

Medicare celebrated its 52nd birthday in July.

Medicare was signed into law on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This is the date, when he signed the landmark amendment to the Social Security Act, which gave life to the Medicare program and forever changed the landscape of health care in America.

Did you know that 10,000 baby boomers a day turn 65? Medicare will see a big influx of new users in the coming years.

The Medicare Basics class I have planned is 10 a.m. again at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Anderson Building on the Lyon County Fairgrounds. Please RSVP for this class by calling 341-3220 by Friday, Sept. 22. I must have 10 people to hold class.

This class is designed to be just what it says, the basics. If you are turning 65, helping a parent who is on Medicare, or maybe you just want to understand more about Medicare, this is for you. We will cover the basics and some of the ins and outs of Medicare, for example, when to sign up. What is a Medicare Gap? Do I need one? What is Part D? What does Open Enrollment mean? Does it happen every year?

Medicare gives Americans the access to quality, affordable health care that lets us live a happy, healthy and productive lives. Today, about 55 million Americans depend on Medicare to cover 23 types of preventive services, including flu shots and diabetes screenings. Some screenings are free, and others have a small co-payment or deductible. Medicare also covers hospital stays, lab tests and critical supplies such as wheelchairs and prescription drugs.

If you are a new enrollee in Medicare, you are eligible for a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit during the first 12 months you have coverage. For most people with Medicare there’s not a co-pay or deductible for this preventive visit. During your appointment, you and your doctor will review your medical and family history, assess your current health and prescriptions, and conduct tests and screenings to establish a baseline for personalized care.

Medicare Open Enrollment is Oct. 15 – Dec. 7. This is the one time of year when all people with Medicare can see what new benefits it has to offer and make changes for the upcoming calendar year.

Your health care needs may change from year to year, and your health plan may change its benefits and costs each year, too. That’s why it’s important to review your Medicare choices each fall. If you compare your current plan to new options, you may find ways to lower some costs or find a plan that better suits your needs.

I hope you will join me to learn a little bit more about Medicare Sept. 27 at the Anderson Building. Please call 341-3220 to reserve your spot by Friday Sept. 22, so I will have enough handouts. See you then.

—Rhonda Gordon is the Family and Consumer Sciences agent for K-State Research and Extension in Lyon County. For more information on this column, nutrition, food safety, parenting, financial management, health and safety email Rhonda at call the Lyon County Extension Office at 341-3220. K-State Research and Extension provides “Knowledge for Life.”


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