Q: I will be eligible for Medicare soon. Where can I get information?
A: Come to a free community workshop being held by the Apprise Program of the Centre County Office of Aging. People who are new to Medicare are invited to attend a Get Ready for Medicare: The Basics for People Who are Joining. Two workshops are scheduled:
9 a.m. Sept. 13, Department of Environmental Protection, Moshannon District Office, 186 Enterprise Drive, Philipsburg. Call 814-355-6716 to schedule an appointment.
12:30 p.m. Sept. 14, Centre Region Senior Center, 131 S. Fraser St., State College. Call 814-231-3076 to schedule an appointment.
These workshops are specifically designed to assist people who are enrolling in Medicare, either because they will turn 65 years old or because they receive Social Security disability benefits. The workshops are also appropriate for spouses and caregivers. Individual appointments at either location also are available.
Roughly 100,000 Pennsylvanians enroll in Medicare each year. Many struggle to make the right decisions about their coverage because they do not have clear information. The Medicare enrollment process is complex, and there are key decisions that must be made according to strict deadlines. There are also programs that are available that can help Medicare enrollees save money. Beneficiaries are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to get information from highly trained people who will offer unbiased advice.
Q: What is the Apprise program?
A: Apprise is a program of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the designated State Health Insurance Program in Pennsylvania. SHIPs receive grant funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide direct, local assistance to Medicare beneficiaries through one-on-one counseling sessions (both in-person and over the phone), presentations and public education programs. Counselors are fully trained volunteers who answer questions and provide objective, easy-to-understand information about Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Medicaid and longterm care insurance.
Call our statewide tollfree line at 800-783-7067 to connect with a counselor in your area. Centre County residents can call the Centre County Office of Aging at 355-6716.
Judy Furfaro is a coordinator with the Apprise Program State Health Insurance Assistance Program.