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News from the Reference Desk

Insurance Enrollment Assistance

It’s the time of year when many health insurance decisions must be made. If you need assistance in determining the best options, here’s some help:

Medicare Open Enrollment:

The Medicare Open Enrollment period began on Oct. 15 and runs until Dec. 7. The Illinois Dept. on Aging offers assistance through the department’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP.) Their counselors can explain the drug, health, and supplemental plans that are available. The nearest SHIP sites are at Arlington Heights Senior Center (847/253-5532) and Wheeling Township (847/259-7730.) For additional SHIP information, call 800/252-8966 or click here .

The Village of Mount Prospect Human Services Department also offers assistance for Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) enrollment. Call 847/870-5680 to set up an appointment.

Affordable Care Act Marketplace:

The enrollment period for uninsured people to sign up for coverage through the Illinois Marketplace runs from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. If you want your insurance coverage to start on Jan. 1, 2015, you must enroll by Dec. 15, 2014.

The Library is offering several programs to assist those using the Illinois Marketplace. Representatives from Get Covered Illinois will present an overview program,” Affordable Care Act Update,” on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The Library will also host two enrollment events with trained navigators from Get Covered Illinois to provide assistance in navigating the site and signing up for insurance. The enrollment events are on Dec. 13, 2014, and Jan. 31, 2015,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 847/392-8682 ext. 227. Walk-ins are also welcome.

By JoR on October 22, 2014 Categories: Community, Consumer, Health, Health Care Reform, Insurance, Seniors

Benefit Access Program (formerly Circuit Breaker)

The Circuit Breaker Property Tax Relief Grant and Illinos Cares Rx is no longer being funded, effective July 1, 2012. However, a few benefits are still being offered:

  • Seniors Free Transit Ride
  • The Persons with Disabilities Free Transit Ride
  • Secretary of State License Plate Discount

You must submit a Benefit Access Application online only. Paper applications are not available or accepted.

For more info, follow link to Illlinois Department on Aging or contact the Senior HelpLine at 800-252-8966, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY).

 

By julie collins on January 18, 2013 Categories: Seniors

Senior Job Seekers

AARP has a new employment site,  workreimagined.org. You can log into it through your LinkedIn ID. It lists job openings from organizations with a commitment to hire older workers.

On a related note, MPPL is hosting a session on Tuesday 11/20/12 at 1:30p:

What the Senior Candidate Has to Offer: Wisdom, loyalty, experience – are you making the most of your marketable qualities as a mature job seeker? Bob Podgorski of St. Hubert Job and Networking Ministry will offer tips for presenting your skills and experiences as a senior candidate to a potential employer. Please register online or by calling 847-253-5675.

By Patricia Smolin on October 11, 2012 Categories: Employment, Jobs, Seniors

Searching for Medicare Costs?

Need to find specifics for premium types, costs, and services?  A detailed chart is available at http://www.medicare.gov/cost/

By Patricia Smolin on August 9, 2012 Categories: Consumer, Health, Seniors

Social Security Benefit Estimates Now Available Online

Because of budgetary constraints, in 2011 the Social Security Administration (SSA) stopped sending estimated Social Security benefit statements on paper. For a number of years these statements had been sent to all workers age 25 and older and not currently receiving Social Security benefits. In addition to listing a worker’s lifetime earnings record (the basis for Social Security benefits), the statements contained estimated benefits for retirement, disability, and surviving family members.

This month (May, 2012), the SSA unveiled a program to provide the same information electronically, on the SSA website. Any individual who wishes to sign up must be at least age 18 and have a valid Social Security number, e-mail address, and United States mailing address. Create an account at www.ssa.gov/mystatement.

The new electronic version of the benefit estimate statement provides the same information as the paper statement, a worker’s lifetime earnings record and estimated benefits for retirement, disability, and surviving family members. At the same time, the government has resumed mailing paper estimated benefit statements to workers age 60 and older who are not currently receiving Social Security benefits.

By Patricia Smolin on May 31, 2012 Categories: Consumer, Seniors

Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP)

 The Illinois Department of Insurance site provides information on the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP). SHIP is a free statewide health insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. A Medicare Supplement Premium Comparison Guide is available, as is Medicaid Related and Long Term Care Information

By Patricia Smolin on April 19, 2012 Categories: Consumer, Health, Insurance, Seniors

E-payments to Americans receiving federal benefit and non-tax payments

The U.S. Department of the Treasury moved in late 2010 to make all federal benefit payments electronic by March 2013, a change that will impact everyone nearing retirement and the more than 10 million Americans are already receiving benefits by paper check.  Please click here for more information to ensure benefits continue without interruption.

By Patricia Smolin on March 30, 2012 Categories: Employment, Health, Seniors, Taxes

Choices for Caregivers

Marking caregiving decisions is difficult.  Deciding if a relative is ready for additional help, evaluating health issues, checking finances, and finding the right facility take time and patience.

The National Caregivers Library was created by FamilyCare America, Inc. and is one of the largest single sources of information and tools for caregivers and seniors in the country. 

The site provides guidelines for housing, health, and legal issues as well as ways for caregives to pay attention to their emotional needs and well being.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a site for Nursing Homes in Illinois and shares criteria to select a nursing home, level of care expected, patient resident rights, and a Health Care Worker Registry. 

By MPPL on June 15, 2011 Categories: Health, Seniors

Social Security Benefit Statements Going Online

The SSA recently discontinued mailing annual estimates of benefits to future Social Security recipients.  In attempts to cut costs, this information will now be available on the SSA website, www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator – then click on "Estimate Your Retirement Benefits".

To receive information on earnings history or disability and survivor benefits, please call the agency at 1-800-772-1213.

The agency estimates svings of $60,000,000 annual by going online.  It plans to resume mailing paper statements to thos over 60 within the year.

By MPPL on June 14, 2011 Categories: Employment, Finance, Seniors

Free rides for most seniors to end on CTA, Metra, Pace on 9/1/11

A vast majority of the 440,000 senior citizens who registered to receive free transit rides over the last three years will lose the privilege on Sept. 1.  The Chicago Tribune posted this article which discusses the income caps of seniors who will qualify.

By MPPL on June 6, 2011 Categories: Consumer, Seniors, Travel