Turning 65 — it is a milestone!
It means you have most likely paid into Social Security for 40 quarters or more and can now take advantage of those special discounts and exclusive services available to older adults.
It also means that you are eligible for Medicare. Have you started getting all sorts of advertisements from various insurance companies? Have you thought about Original Medicare versus Medicare Advantage? Do you have a drug plan? What plan works best for you? Do you qualify for Extra Help with Medicare costs?
These are all questions that may be overwhelming to think about, but not to worry.
The Orange County Department on Aging has partnered with the Senior Health Insurance and Information Program (SHIIP) to provide free and unbiased Medicare counseling.
Medicare beneficiaries can schedule an appointment to speak with one of our trained SHIIP counselors to learn more about Medicare and to have in-depth discussions about their health insurance options. Take advantage of this service to make an informed decision about your health and insurance needs! Consider the different costs, benefits and ratings of each policy.
Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help depending on their income and assets. This program helps cover the cost of drug plan premiums as well as deductibles and copayments. A SHIIP counselor can provide you with more information and help you apply if you qualify.
The Orange County Department on Aging provides integrated aging services, including Medicare counseling, through its two state-of-the-art senior centers: Central Orange Senior Center located at 103 Meadowlands Drive in Hillsborough, and the Seymour Center located at 2551 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.
The Department on Aging is a one-stop resource where older adults and caregivers can meet their social, mental, physical, financial, and day-to-day practical needs. We offer wellness and education classes, lunches, trips, volunteer opportunities, and much more. In addition to Medicare counseling, take advantage of the One-Stop-Shop aging transitions services offered by our team of social workers, occupational therapists, benefits specialists, and transportation specialist to learn about a full range of services and supports that you may be eligible for, and to make plans for the future.
Our diverse team of professionals and our senior center participants have created an environment that welcomes people of different cultures and backgrounds. Enjoy a game of Mahjong, a Chinese calligraphy class, join our Spanish Social Club, participate in one of our exercise classes, stay for lunch, volunteer, and become a part of our family! The senior centers are active and full of life – do not let your age limit what you can do. Explore new interests, improve your health, and make new friends. We look forward to meeting you!
To schedule a Medicare appointment, for hours of operation, and for complete service and program information, please call Central Orange Senior Center at 919-245-2015 or Seymour Center at 919-968-2070. For aging transition information and assistance, please call the Aging Transitions Helpline at 919-968-2087. Visit us on the web at www.orangecountync.gov/departments/aging, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OrangeCountyDepartmentOnAging.
Ana C. Lima is a recent MSW graduate from N.C. State University. She is the Orange County SHIIP co-coordinator and a bilingual social worker for Orange County Department on Aging.
Helpful phone numbers
To schedule a Medicare appointment, for hours of operation, and for complete service and program information, please call Central Orange Senior Center at 919-245-2015 or Seymour Center at 919-968-2070. For aging transition information and assistance, please call the Aging Transitions Helpline at 919-968-2087.