Classes will inform new retirees of national benefits

In less than one year, the oldest members of the baby boom generation will turn 65 and many more are nearing retirement.

But how many of these older Americans know about Medicare, Social Security or supplemental insurance options?

?Those turning 65 in the next six months to a year, or who are confused about Medicare and the options available can benefit from this new series of classes,? said Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator of the Marion County Depart?ment for Elderly,

This free three-class series is a new program being offered through the Marion County Department for Elderly to help participants gain the knowledge needed to make informed decisions.

The classes will provide basic information about what needs to be done the closer someone gets to retirement.

For example, one year before retirement benefits begin, people are encouraged to call the Social Security office.

In one segment, Ratzlaff said, the class will review Medicare and what is covered and what supplemental insurance plans can provide.

?With 12 different supplement insurance plans, which one best fits (you),? she said.

Another big issue is the prescription drug plan and what it covers.

Maybe there are some people who are not aware that to have this plan in 2010, they must be enrolled by Nov. 15, she said.

Every new class will offer different material, but all the information will benefit those nearing retirement.

The following is a breakdown of the class material.

n The first class, Social Security/Medicare Maze, begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21.

Information will include the basics of Social Security and Medicare Part A & B, along with an explanation of the enrollment process.

n The second class, Supple?mental Insurance Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage, will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19.

The focus of this class will be on Medicare evolving and what choices are best for individuals.

n Medicare Part D will be the focus of the third class, at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2. This session will help participants find out what they need to consider when choosing a prescription drug plan. Medicare prescription drug coverage has been available to beneficiaries since 2006.

Although the classes are free, registration is still needed.

All classes will meet in the west room of Hillsboro City Hall, 118 E. Grand Ave.

For more information or to sign up, call 620-382-3580.

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