Trying to deal with the headaches of picking a Medicare prescription drug plan or managed-care coverage for 2013?
Plenty of help is available to make the process a lot less painful. 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 visiting 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.
Upcoming events in the Akron area include:
• Presentation at 10 a.m. Oct. 30 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.
• On-site counseling and enrollment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Wadsworth Center for Older Adults, 138 High St.
• An event at 10 a.m. Nov. 2 at the Brenn-Field Nursing Center, 1980 Lynn Drive, Orrville.
• Presentation at 10 a.m. Nov. 28 at the Twinsburg Senior Center, 10260 Ravenna Road. Counseling will be available from noon to 3 p.m. Call 330-963-8722 for an appointment.
In addition, the state program provides personalized help from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays 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 2013:
• Tuesday: Guy’s Party Centre, 500 E. Waterloo Road, Akron.
• Oct. 23: Sheraton Suites of Cuyahoga Falls, 1989 Front St.
• Oct. 30: Hartville Kitchen, 1015 Edison St. NW.
• Nov. 7: Portage Senior Service Center, 705 Oakwood St., Ravenna.
• Nov. 12: Guy’s Party Centre, 500 E. Waterloo Road, Akron.
Francine Chuchanis, the agency’s ombudsman supervisor, will discuss tips for selecting coverage and the changes to Medicare in 2013.
Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. The free programs include a continental breakfast and lunch. Reservations are required. For information or to register, call 330-899-5254.
The agency also provides help from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays to people who call 877-770-5558.
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 $26,120 for Medicare enrollees who are married and living with their spouse or $13,070 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.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.