People on Medicare can make changes to their health insurance during Open Enrollment, which begins October 15th and runs through December 7th. The Westchester Library System is here to help, with its free live workshops and online version.
“Demystifying Medicare” is for anyone who needs to understand how Medicare works. It’s not only for people who are considering changes to their current coverage, but for those who are soon to be Medicare-eligible, approaching retirement, or helping relatives or friends with their medical decisions and paperwork.
All the currently scheduled in-person events are listed at the bottom of the library’s webpage https://wikis.westchesterlibraries.org/sbic/demystifying-medicare/. There you can also access the online version and work through this complicated subject at your own pace, beginning with a 5-minute video on how to get the best out of the audio chapters, displays and handouts that match the ones used in the live workshops.
A complete understanding of the whole system is key to making the best personal health coverage choices. Topics include Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans, Medigaps (supplemental plans), EPIC, and cost-saving programs for people with limited resources. There’s also a new .pdf on “Medicare and COVID,” which outlines the relaxation of some of Medicare’s rules during the public health emergency.
In a non-COVID universe, WLS works year-round in other ways to help people understand Medicare and the health insurance industry. It runs free Senior Benefits Individual Counseling centers (SBICs) at the John C. Hart and Will libraries (in Shrub Oak and Yonkers) throughout the year, where people can get answers to their coverage and billing questions on a first-come, first-served basis. The volunteers in this program have been trained and updated monthly with materials from the Medicare Rights Center, a NYC advocacy group not affiliated with the insurance companies or with Medicare itself. For individual help, you can call the SBIC helpline at (914) 231-3260 or email them at SBIC@wlsmail.org. Like the workshops, the counseling is also free.
To sign up for live workshops, please leave your name and number at (914) 231-3236 or email SBICmedia@gmail.com. (But please call the venue before attending to make sure COVID restrictions have not again caused cancellation this season.) And to explore the library’s full range of informational services for seniors, please visit https://seniors.westchesterlibraries.org/senior-benefits/.