A grade schooler prepares to unleash his artistic side alongside other children during a recent enrollment fair and block party sponsored by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, 3275 N. 3rd St. Aside from art projects, there were also other activities including a bouncy house, carnival games, petting zoo and more. Parents also had the opportunity to enroll their children for the 2013- 2014 school year in MPS. Children and residents who live around the school also had the opportunity to meet King’s new principal, Dr. Christlyn Frederick-Stanley. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
For residents thinking about earning their GED, especially those who have started the coursework already, there will never be a better time than now to sign up for classes at the Social Development Commission (SDC).
Registration is going on for the GED/HSED classes which will start August 26th at SDC Richards Street at 4041 N. Richards. Classes will be held in morning (9:30 am – 12:30 pm) and evening (5:30 – 8:30 pm) sessions. The goal is to prepare adults for completion of the coursework and testing by December.
The concern over timing of the GED/HSED tests is that beginning in mid-December , the State of Wisconsin will begin a new series of computerized tests for the diplomas. That will mean that students who have completed some but not all five GED exams by that date will have their old test results eliminated and need to retake all the new tests to earn their GED or HSED diploma.
To learn more about the GED/HSED at SDC and to register, visit www.cr-sdc.org/index/Programs–Services/Education–Training/Basic-Skills.htm on the agency’s website.
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period — which begins today Monday, October 15 – has been expanded to last seven weeks and will end on December 7. This will give seniors and people with disabilities more time to compare and find the best plan that meets their unique needs. Open enrollment is seniors’ chance to review their Medicare choices and pick the plan that works for them but if they decide that they’re happy sticking with the coverage they have now, they don’t need to do anything else.
“Fall can be an extremely busy time of year, the kids are getting settled into a new a new school year, the yard and the house need to be made ready for winter and of course we need to keep up with the Packers on Sundays,” said Doug Hill, State Director for Know Your Care Wisconsin. “With everything we have going on, it’s so easy to forget another activity that should be on all our fall checklists: helping family members with the Medicare Open Enrollment period.”
If Medicare beneficiaries and their families need assistance in helping to choose a plan or deciding to stay on a plan they can utilize two great resources. The first is the Medicare Plan Finder, available at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan
The second resource is an “Elder Benefits Specialist.” Each county in Wisconsin has at least one of these specialists. These individuals can help Medicare beneficiaries learn what plans and what options are available to them. They cannot advise you on what plan to choose, but they will help you gather information to make a more informed decision about which plan is best for you. To make an appointment with your county’s elder benefits specialist you can contact your county’s Commission on Aging and Disability Resource Center.
A full listing of Wisconsin’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers can be found at this directory: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/aging/EBS/benspecs.htm
Additionally, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the Part D “donut hole” coverage gap will continue to increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed. This year, people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 14 percent coverage of generic drugs in the donut hole. In 2013, Medicare Part D’s coverage of brand name drugs will begin to increase, so people with Medicare will receive approximately 53 percent off the cost of brand name drugs, and coverage for 21 percent of the cost of generic drugs, in the donut hole.
“With more benefits, better choices and lower costs, Know Your Care Wisconsin encourages people with Medicare and their families to begin reviewing their drug and health plan coverage options for 2013,” Hill added.
Local organizations urge patients and providers to take advantage of new plan options and services available beginning October 15th
The Medicare Rx Access Network has re-energized its local partners to help prepare Wisconsin seniors for the upcoming October 15th through December 7th Open Enrollment opportunity for Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans.
More than 918,344 Wisconsinites are currently covered by Medicare. While there are still a few weeks until seniors can make changes to their benefits, Medicare Rx Access Network members are urging Wisconsin seniors to prepare now.
“The Medicare Rx Access Network will be out in the community making sure that seniors are aware not only of the open enrollment period but of all the new options available,” explained Gary Ross, President and CEO of Community Health Charities of Wisconsin. “Seniors should compare their current plan with new coverage options in their area. People change and so do their medical needs. Patients can now make their benefits work for them.”
Seniors wanting to compare their plans should visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE. These resources will allow them to easily compare their current coverage to their medical and financial needs to determine the most suitable option available to them in their area. In Wisconsin, those with questions on Medicare and Medicare Part D can also call the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources 1-877-333-0202.
The Medicare Rx Access Network will spend the next few weeks and months working with local health providers and community organizations to spread the word about the open enrollment opportunity.
Eighty-eight percent of Part D enrollees report satisfaction with their coverage, according to the KRC Survey for Medicare Today, done in October of 2011.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network – Wisconsin, American Liver Foundation, Wisconsin Chapter, American Lung Association of Wisconsin, Arthritis Foundation Upper Midwest Region-Wisconsin, BioForward, Community Health Charities of Wisconsin, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Wisconsin Chapter, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Network, Epilepsy Foundation of Western Wisconsin, Epilepsy Foundation, Heart of Wisconsin, Lupus Foundation of America, Wisconsin Chapter, National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians,
Wisconsin Nurses Association, and the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation