Hill Country Memorial seminar will have you ‘Navigating Medicare’ with confidence

STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

While it’s a great program, there’s a lot to Medicare, and it can feel pretty overwhelming.

That’s why Linda Simonsen, community relations specialist at Hill Country Memorial Hospital, is leading “Navigating Medicare,” a free seminar through the hospital, at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Llano County Library, 102 E. Haynie St. A complimentary lunch will be served.

To RSVP or for more information, call (866) 421-4264.

Seniors and their adult children are encouraged seniors to attend.

Simonsen noted that some Medicare services are for those on limited incomes, while others don’t cover long-term care. Also, some patients don’t realize the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.

“People don’t have a clue about what the different programs are,” she said. “We’ll talk about what I recommend for Medicare.”

She’ll discuss the differences between Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Most have to do with out-of-pocket expenses and the health of the individual. Some people have retirement plans through their old jobs. Most of the time, if the person can do it, it’s best to continue with their former company’s medical plan if it has a supplemental plan as a secondary insurance.

“If you have one, you’ll want to keep it,” Simonsen said.

Medicare can affect a person’s Social Security check and, in the event of their death, impact their estate and family.

Then, there are the almost infinite changes to the program that occur every year, especially regarding prescription medication.

Simonsen recommends people re-evaluate their plans each year and pay special attention to which drugs are heavily used throughout the medical industry.

“If companies spend too much money on one drug, they’ll put it at a different level,” she said, meaning it might shift more of the cost burden to the individual. “(Drug companies) watch that stuff carefully.”

Simonsen has spent more than two decades working with senior adults, primarily telling them about Medicare options.

She works to keep up to date with the rules and regulations surrounding Medicare, attending seminars and training. Her goal is to share the information with attendees and help take the mystery and frustration out of Medicare.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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