Medicare program has many complex facets

The Many Parts of Medicare
September 12, 2017

Medicare program has many complex facets

For most seniors, the “Golden Years” don’t equate to relaxing on the beach with a good book and a margarita.

Many may face a stagnant income, increased costs, medical problems and financial worries.

However, being well-informed can help seniors avoid being overwhelmed by all the changes and choices they face.

Picking the Medicare plan that meets their needs but also fits within heir budget is among the most confusing financial decisions faced by seniors.

“Medicare, for me, was like a nightmare,” said Vicki Clark, Potsdam. “I’ve sat through conversation after conversation and presentation after presentation and I’m still constantly learning something new about Medicare and about Social Security.”

Medicare is the federally-funded health insurance program for those 65 and older. It’s also for people under 65 with certain disabilities and people of any age with end-stage kidney disease.

To help clear up questions, the St. Lawrence County chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons recently held an information session, at the Potsdam Town Hall, called “Taking the Scare Out of Medicare.” Ms. Clark, Potsdam, is the chapter’s first vice president.

Sheryl S. Campbell, a retired St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging employee, and Nancy Green, a current employee, spent nearly two hours discussing the various Medicare options. They fielded questions from about 20 people who spent a summer afternoon learning the ins and outs of the program.

Mrs. Campbell explained that the federal Social Security Administration signs people up for Medicare Part A coverage after they turn 65. Cards are mailed to people a few months before they reach that birthday.

However, she emphasized that Medicare is a separate agency from Social Security and questions should be directed to the website or

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