Enrolling for Medicare
Medicare is our country’s federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older. People younger than age 65 with certain disabilities, permanent kidney failure, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), can also qualify for Medicare. The program helps with the cost of health care, but it doesn’t cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. You have choices for how you get Medicare coverage. If you choose to have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage, you can buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy from a private insurance company. Medigap covers some of the costs that Medicare does not, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. If you choose Medicare Advantage, you can buy a Medicare-approved plan from a private company that bundles your Part A, Part B, and usually drug coverage (Part D) into one plan. Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the agency in charge of the Medicare program, Social Security processes your application for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), and CMS can give you general information about the Medicare program. For more information about Medicare, visit the official US Government site for people with Medicare
For basic information about Medicare for anyone who is covered and some of the options available when choosing Medicare coverage, please visit: www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10043.pdf
Do you need help with prescription drug costs? Prescription Advantage is a state-run program which helps many seniors pay for their prescription drugs. Eligibility is based on income only and there is no asset limit.
If you are a Massachusetts resident, eligible for Medicare and are
- 65 years of age or older, eligible for Medicare, and have a gross annual household income less than 500% of the Federal Poverty Level, or
- 65 years if age or older and not eligible for Medicare, or
- Under age 65, work no more than 40 hours per month, meets MassHealth's CommonHealth disability guidelines, and have a gross annual income at or below 188% of the Federal Poverty Level,
- Not MassHealth or Commonhealth members.
Call Prescription Advantage to enroll or ask for an application form at 1-800-243-4636, then press or say 2.
You may apply online at: prescriptionadvantagema.org
- Seniors looking for information about health insurance options can meet with health insurance representatives at the Gardner Senior Center.
- Open enrollment sessions are held at the center each year.
SHINE Program (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) is a state health insurance assistance program that provides free health insurance information, counseling and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers. The SHINE Program is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in partnership with elder service agencies, social service and community based agencies and Councils on Aging. The program is partially funded by the federal agency Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
CALL THE GARDNER SENIOR CENTER TO SPEAK WITH A SHINE COUNSELOR OR FOR MORE INFORMATION!
OR GO TO: SHINEMA.GOV
What is a SHINE Counselor?
A committed volunteer who is trained and certified by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in many areas of health insurance, including Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D; Medigap insurance, Medicare HMOs, retiree insurance plans, prescription drug programs, Medicaid, Medicare assistance programs (QMB, SLMB and QI), and other programs for people with limited resources.
Hearing Aid CleaningHearing Aid Cleaning is not being conducted during the limited opening of the Senior Center. Once fully re-opened, Miracle Ear will be at the Senior Center the first Wednesday of every month from 10-11 for hearing aid cleaning
The senior center provides a variety of health classes including line dancing, yoga, and ez-movements. Check out the monthly newsletter for more information.
TOPS Club, Inc
This the original, nonprofit, weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Established in 1948 to champion weight-loss and success, we've managed to help mission of people live healthier lives. Annual membership is $32 a year. In the Gardner Chapter members have voted to have a $3 weekly dues to cover expenses. The first meeting is free TOPS will be meeting at the Gardner Senior Center at 9 am to 10:30 am. More information and inspiration can be found on the TOPS website.