Help is available for navigating the Medicare open enrollment maze.
Be sure to have your Medicare number handy, as well as a list of all the prescription medicines you take.
The Medicare program provides personalized help at 800-633-4227.
People with computer access can do the research on their own (or get a computer-savvy loved one to do it) by going online to www.medicare.gov.
To begin a personalized search to find the plan that’s estimated to be the cheapest, click on “Find health and drug plans” and then enter the requested information.
The Ohio Department of Insurance’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program is offering free help during Medicare Check-Up Days in every county.
Events in the Akron area include:
• Counseling by appointment beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Brenn-Field Nursing Facility community room, 1980 Lynn Drive, Orrville. Call 330-682-6992.
• Counseling available by appointment starting at 10 a.m. Oct. 18 at the Congregational Church of Akron, 292 E. Market St. Call 330-923-0451 for an appointment.
• Presentation at 10 a.m. Oct. 29 at Mercy Medical Center’s Mercy Hall Auditorium, 1320 Mercy Drive NW, Canton. Counseling will be available between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Call 800-223-8662 for an appointment.
• Counseling and enrollment assistance available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Soprema Senior Center, 617 School Drive, Wadsworth.
• Presentation at 9 a.m. Nov. 20 at the Twinsburg Senior Center, 10260 Ravenna Road (behind R.B. Chamberlin Middle School). Counseling will be available by appointment. Call 330-963-8722.
In addition, the state program provides personalized help by calling 800-686-1578.
Events to review plans
The Greater Akron/Canton Area Agency on Aging is hosting several events to help Medicare participants review their options for 2014:
• Oct. 24: Tangier, 532 W. Market St., Akron.
• Oct. 28: Hartville Kitchen, 1015 Edison St. NW.
• Nov. 7: Guy’s Party Centre, 500 E. Waterloo Road, Akron.
• Nov. 13: Portage County Senior Center, 705 Oakwood, Ravenna.
• Nov. 18: Barberton Active Adult Center, 500 W. Hopocan Ave.
• Nov. 22: Hartville Kitchen, 1015 Edison St. NW.
Francine Chuchanis, the agency’s ombudsman supervisor, will discuss tips for selecting coverage and the changes to Medicare in 2014.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. The free programs include lunch. Reservations are required. For information or to register, call 330-899-5255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The agency also provides help to people who call 800-421-7277.
Free or reduced premiums
People with limited income can qualify for free drug coverage or reduced monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs.
To qualify, combined savings, investments and real estate must be worth less than $26,580 for Medicare enrollees who are married and living with their spouse or $13,300 for those who are unmarried or not living with their spouse. (The eligibility requirements don’t include the value of the home in which people live, their personal possessions, burial plots or irrevocable burial contracts.) For information, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or www.socialsecurity.gov/i1020.
Contact Cheryl Powell at 330-996-3902 or by email at email@example.com