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Senior News: Get help with the confusing world of Medicare

Did you know that: One in five beneficiaries describes Medicare as confusing (I’m surprised it isn’t higher); most adults can’t identify what Medicare Parts A, B, C and D cover; 70 percent of baby boomers say they have a fair or poor understanding of Medicare; and a surprising 62 percent of those eligible have never shopped for coverage to fit their needs.

In response, National Medicare Education Week was established Sept.15-21 (one month before the start of Medicare Open Enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7) dedicated to helping people better understand Medicare.

Locally, you can learn more by attending the free Medicare 101 workshop on Sept. 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. in Room 102, Building 3, on The Dalles Campus of Columbia Gorge Community College. To register, you are encouraged to call 503-947-7302 or email Walk-ins are welcome as space allows.

Donna Delikat, an advocate for SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance), will be the presenter. T

he workshop is offered by SHIBA: a federally funded, nationwide program designed to help beneficiaries navigate their way through the complicated and often frustrating Medicare system.

By attending the workshop, you will learn when and how to enroll; what is and is not covered, the differences between Medicare and Medicaid and between Medicare supplement insurance and Medicare Advantage plans; how to choose the type of coverage that works best for you; and much more.

It is important to remember Medicare health and drug plans make changes each year — such as cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. And Medicare’s open enrollment period is your chance each year to change coverage to best meet your needs.

How do you know if you should change plans?

Soon you will be receiving information from your current Medicare plans, such as the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC).

Review these statements carefully to make sure your plans will still meet your needs next year. If you’re satisfied, you don’t need to do anything.

But if you aren’t happy with the changes to your current plan, you can compare plans by going online to

If you feel more comfortable talking to someone face-to-face, in a few weeks you can call the Mid-Columbia Senior Center to schedule an appointment with a trained SHIBA volunteer.

Most importantly, take time to understand your Medicare options so you can make informed decisions — both for your health and your pocket book.

Plan for the worst

You don’t want to be worrying about every possible disaster: earthquake, fire, train derailment, etc., but when one does occur, you want to be prepared.

To learn how, join NW Natural and local experts at “Get Ready — The Dalles” on Saturday, Sept.15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, located on Eighth and Webber streets. There will be prizes and free lunches.

Here’s a tip I just learned from Tonya Brumley, community affairs manager for this area of NW Natural: To create a record of your possessions in your home, spend a few moments and videotape every room. It could provide fond memories for your children— and one day your insurance agent might really appreciate it.

Remember when...

In the epic adventure-comedy movie based on the classic novel by Jules Verne, the Englishman Phileas Fogg in 1872 bets that he can circle the globe in 80 days. (I received one correct answer from Bob Earls who wins a quilt raffle ticket; and for the week before, Jo Smith also receives a free quilt raffle ticket for her correct answer).

During the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, eight protesters — including Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin — were arrested and tried for conspiracy and inciting to riot because of their role in anti-Vietnam War protests.

For this week’s “Remember When” question: What was the popular name given to these protesters? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a black robe once worn by Judge Julius Hoffman.

Well, it’s been another week making lemonade out of lemons, which are always nearby.

Until we meet again, here is some simple advice from Oswald Avery, “Whenever you fall, pick something up.”

And “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring” by George Santayana


Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon in Betty’s Diner at the Center.

Thursday (13) Pork Chop with Mashed Potatoes (Music – Tom Graff)

Friday (14) Hamburgers

Monday (17) Beef Stew

Tuesday (18) (BIRTHDAY DINNER) Parmesan Chicken over Pasta

Wednesday (19) Baked Ham (Homemade Soup and Salad Bar)


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