Medicare open enrollment is time to review coverage

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Health insurance coverage is a top priority for many people.  Medicare is health insurance available for people over the age of 65 as well as those under the age of 65 with certain disabilities. The primary Parts of Medicare are A, B and D. 

Part A is known as hospital coverage and assists with expenses for inpatient care and skilled nursing facility, hospice and home health care.

Medicare Part B is general medical insurance that assists with expenses associated with doctors’ visits, outpatient hospital care and home health care.  Part B also covers some preventative medical services. 

Part D is Medicare prescription drug coverage.

You also have the option to enroll in the Medicare Advantage Plan, or Part C, offered by private companies approved by Medicare. The advantage plan normally includes Parts A and B and additional benefits such a vision or dental insurance.  The majority of advantage plans also include Part D. 

If you currently receive Medicare benefits, remember that Medicare health and prescription drug plan costs and coverage can change every year.  Therefore, review your Medicare plan on a yearly basis to ensure that it meets both your medical and financial needs. 

The fall open enrollment period for 2012 is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.  It is important to review any changes in Medicare now to compare available coverage options.

Your new coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2012.  If you retain your same plan from 2011, new costs and coverage will also begin Jan. 1, 2012.  The Social Security office will be able to provide you with enrollment guidelines as well as other information regarding other enrollment periods in which you may be eligible to enroll.

For additional up-to-date information and to compare Medicare drug and health plans check out www.medicare.gov and www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf.

Jennifer Hunter, Extension Specialist for Family Finance, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture shared this timely information.

Upcoming Programs

I have arranged for the three programs that follow to be held at the Carroll County Extension office, 500 Floyd Drive in Carrollton.

Please call us at (502) 732-7030 if you have any questions and to sign up to attend. Checks for the two fee classes are payable to the Carroll County Extension Service.

• Foods, customs and cultures. Our American foods, customs and cultures have been greatly influenced by those in other countries since our heritage is from countries all over the world. 

I invite you to attend a special program, “Foods, Customs and Cultures” with Diane Mason, Boone County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 10 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Carroll County Extension office.

What a timely program as the holiday season approaches with the many foods and customs we enjoy brought from countries from around the world. We will explore what influences our food choices, the customs and cuisines adopted in America from other cultures, how we can celebrate the similarities and differences in world cultures – plus a taste or two of ethnic cuisine. There is no cost for this program.

•Learn to knit. We are offering a beginning knitting class from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 16 and 17. Hazel Ray and I will be teaching you to cast on, bind off, knit and purl as you knit a nice scarf for yourself or to give as a holiday gift. Fee is $10.

If there is interest, we will add more knitting classes for youth and adults.

• First aid and CPR training. Jennifer Dickrow, Paramedic and Basic Life Support Instructor will teach a program through the American Heart Association on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 9 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at our office. The course includes general first aid, how to take care of a person having a seizure, stroke or heart attack, AED and CPR. Participants completing the course will become certified in first Aid and CPR through the American Heart Association which is good for two years. Fee is $35.

Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to gangotti@uky.edu.