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Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7

Free Medicare counseling available from Johnson County K-State Extension

Attention baby-boomers. Are you approaching or have you already turned 65? Did you notify the Social Security office? Do you have to? What if you’re still working? What if you get health benefits through your employer or spouse’s employer? Do you still have to sign up for Medicare? What’s Part A? What’s Part D? Do you pay premiums? Are you going to have to pay a penalty if you didn’t sign up?

Like most things in life, the answer to these questions is, “It depends.”

If you’ve tried to maneuver your way through medicare.gov and ssa.gov (Social Security Administration) and are totally confused you are not alone. But if you don’t comply with the government’s requirements, you could be forfeiting valuable benefits you’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work.

During the open enrollment period, free Medicare counseling is available from Johnson County K-State extension agent Denise Dias. She is available to answer your questions or meet with you to help walk you through the basics of Medicare. Call 913-715-7000 or email her with  questions or to schedule an appointment.

The following sessions are also available, but please note, they fill up quickly.

Free Part D walk-in help day: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 28 at the Johnson County Extension Office, rm 1060, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, Olathe (first come/first served - building opens at 8 a.m.) Map to office

No appointment is needed to stop in and receive help from a Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas (SHICK) volunteer to choose a Medicare Drug Plan. Last year one participant saved $12,000 annually through comparisons of drug plans.

The SHICK volunteer  will help you consider the following changes before you decide what to do:

  • Are all your medications covered with your current plan for 2019?
  • Will you see any increase in your cost-shares at the pharmacy?
  • Can you use any pharmacy you want?
  • Do you have any restrictions on your medications, such as, quantity limits, step therapy, or prior authorization?

Medicare Part D DIY: 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 3 at Mill Creek Activity Center, 6518 Vista Drive, Shawnee. Fee: $3/$4. To register call Johnson County Park and Recreation 913-831-3359 and reference barcode 11572. Online registration is also available.

For adults enrolled in Medicare who want to learn to navigate the Medicare website themselves to choose a Part D plan.

Extension Medicare 101 class: 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Road, Prairie Village. Fee: $3/$4 Register through JCPRD or 5 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 29 at HCA Health/Quivira Internal Medicine, suite 200,10601 Quivira Road, Overland Park. This class is free. No registration required. Walk-ins welcomed.

This class walks new or confused participants through the essentials of Medicare. It covers the basics of Parts A, B, C (Medicare Advantage), D and Medicare supplements (Medigap).

Topics include: 

  • benefits and costs.
  • the enrollment process.
  • enrollment periods. 
  • various options for coverage.

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