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Free seminars ‘Key’ to navigating retirement

Free seminars ‘Key’ to navigating retirement

By Gerald Carroll

Special to Sun-Gazette

visalia – Retirement is an uncharted phase of life for everyone, and even those who think they have it all figured out may find navigating the health care system to be the most treacherous part of their new journey.

For instance, what is the difference in Medicare? When do you sign up for Parts A, B or D? Which is the right plan for you? What is a PCP? HMO? PPO?

To help new retirees aging into Medicare along with baby boomers working beyond age 65 and family members helping make health care decisions for elderly relatives, Kaweah Delta Health Care District and Key Medical Group will host a series of free Medicare 101 informational seminars through August.

Stella Sanchez, community outreach coordinator for Key Medical Group, detailed Medicare facts, options, costs and important dates for Tulare County residents at the most recent seminar on July 27 at Marie Callender’s in Visalia. Key Medical Group manages Blue Shield of California, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Humana (Medical Advantage) and United Health Care in the Central Valley.

“You have many options to consider where choosing your Medicare coverage,” Sanchez said, starting for seminar’s visitors, who were served Marie Callender’s pie slices, coffee, tea and water. “What’s right for you may not be right for your friend or even your spouse.”

Sanchez explained that Medicare “eligibility is age of 65, through your spouse, and must qualify by age or disability.” Sections of Medicare start with Part A, which covers hospital, skilled nursing facility, hospice and home health. Part B is doctor appointments, outpatient care and occupational / physical therapies. Part C has identical support for A and B, adding services of dental, vision and wellness programs.

“Most people get their Medicare coverage one or two ways,” Sanchez said. “Standing-alone prescriptions drug plan from a private company in Part A, or supplemented insurance from a private company. Initial enrollment period (IEP) is completed three months prior to turning 65, and three months after 65. Retiring at 65 enrollment depends when your employee coverage ends.”

Sanchez said questions to consider before making decisions on Medicare are:

• How much will you pay for premiums deductibles?

• Are additional benefits included, such as prescription drug coverage?

• Are the plan providers conveniently located?

Health maintenance organization (HMO). Preferred provider organization (PPO), private fee for service (PFFS), special needs (SNP), fitness programs, vision and dental care and mail-delivered pharmacy access are all detailed by Sanchez in these seminars, as well as a coverage gap, known as the “doughnut hole,” in Part D coverage.

Reservations are required to attend this free seminar which will be continue on the following dates and times (attendees only need to attend one seminar): 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 10; 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17.

To register, call 559-802-1990 and use code 2401 to receive a free gift.

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