Presentation offers vital Medicare information

If you go…

Medicare 101

11 a.m., Tuesday

CNCC Bell Tower, 50 College Dr.

— The meeting is a presentation on Medicare for those who will be utilizing the system in the coming years. For more information, contact Betsy Packer at 819-6937 or medicarecounselor@rccoaging.org.

— Among the complications of the health care system is the subject of Medicare, which can be a shock for people to deal with once they reach the appropriate age to use the service. That’s why professionals who know the system inside and out will be hosting an informative seminar for those who need it most.

Medicare 101 is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Colorado Northwestern Community College Bell Tower in Craig. The event, intended for people nearing the age of 65, will include a presentation on what they can expect once they are eligible for the program.

Betsy Packer, Medicare counselor for the Routt County Council on Aging, works with people in Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson Counties and will be making the presentation.

“We’ll be talking about the different parts of Medicare, what they cover and what kind different people can take,” she said.

Packer said she expects to see folks who are six to eight years from turning 65, as well as those who have already hit the minimum age but would still like assistance in navigating the process.

“They get inundated with literature from different companies trying to sell them their products,” she said. “It’s a lot of information, and they don’t know what it all means.”

Packer said she will be able to clarify some of the basics, such as what the program covers under Part A for hospital insurance, Part B for medical insurance and the newer Parts C and D for Medicare Advantage plans and prescription benefits.

The overall intention of the seminar is to keep people well informed about something that will be very important to them as they get older.

“I think people just need to be proactive and look at their choices and remember that health changes as we age,” Packer said. “I’m close to that age, and we all think we’re so healthy, but things happen you can’t plan on. It’s just like any insurance because if you get in an accident, you’ve got a big bill to pay.”

Craig resident Cathy Vanatta will also be volunteering with the program.

“These (presentations) are a lot better than just calling the 800 number for Medicare because people can come in, and we can answer their questions in person,” she said. “We’ll be doing something later this year to help people who want to see about changing their prescription plans because they can only do that from mid-October to December.”

Vanatta recommends being as informed as possible about the options Medicare offers and to consult with professionals as much as necessary.

“We don’t help them make a decision, but we can print out the information, and they can visit with their family and see what they’d like to do,” she said.

Those unable to attend the meeting can request information on the Medicare system at any time by contacting Packer at 819-6937 or at medicarecounselor@rccoaging.org.

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@craigdailypress.com.

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