Art of Aging: Medicare's open enrollment

The deadline for Medicare's open enrollment is fast approaching. A free program is helping seniors navigate their plans.

Now because you have PACE, you do have a little more flexibility.

Christine McBennett is the director of APPRISE, a program that offers Philadelphia seniors free individual and group counseling on Medicare options.

"Everyone's concerned about the cost of their Medicare, their co-pays, their deductibles, so you may want to compare your prescription drug costs from plan to plan," said McBennett.

The mission of Apprise is to not only help seniors understand their benefits, but to maximize their coverage while saving them as much money as possible.

Patricia Buck is the Service Coordinator at Reed Street Presbyterian Apartments.

She says, "It's incredibly important. The system, the Medicare system is so complicated that we all need help."

Even if you already have Medicare, McBennett says it's important to do your homework.

She also says, "Many of the premiums and co-pays can change from year to year, and so people can really be doing themselves a disservice by not investigating because their cost can go up significantly from one year to the next if they do nothing."

APPRISE counsels by phone in 30 languages and will work with family members as well. But many find the one-on-one counseling most useful.

Mildred Thomas of South Philadelphia said, "Sometimes when they send you things you don't quite understand it. You don't understand the small print. What is it exactly saying? You need someone to help you unravel that."

Apprise can also help seniors on fixed incomes tap into cost savings programs.

You can connect with Apprise by calling the PCA Help Line at 215.765.9040.

The enrollment deadline is December 7th.
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