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3/31/2011 - County Initiative to Ensure Seniors Benefits

County Initiative to Ensure Seniors Get All the Medicare Benefits They Deserve

March 30, 2011

At no costs to county taxpayers, Cumberland County will launch an aggressive media and education campaign to ensure county seniors are receiving all of the Medicare and health benefits they’re eligible for but might not know about.

Thanks to two separate grants -- $40,000 from the federal government and $24,000 from the state – the Cumberland County Office on Aging in partnership with Casa PRAC will coordinate the program.

There are three goals to the initiative:

  1. To make sure lower income Medicare recipients know about programs that could cover many of all of their out-of-pocket costs like Medicare premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and copayments – including those for prescription drugs.
  2. To encourage seniors to take advantage of a free physical exam.
  3. To provide personalized counseling, education and outreach to assist seniors with their Medicare questions.

The program was announced by Office on Aging Executive Director, Dale L. Finch and Deputy Freeholder Director James A. Dunkins Tuesday to a group of seniors gathered for lunch at the Bridgeton Senior Nutrition Center.

“These grants give us the ability to improve the health and overall quality of life for our seniors,” said Freeholder Dunkins, who is also the liaison to the Office on Aging. “We’re thrilled to be coordinating such an important initiative.”

Finch gave a quick rundown of some of the highlights of the yearlong initiative. “In coming weeks we will begin offering educational presentations to seniors across the county helping explain the frequently confusing aspects of the Medicare program,” he said. “We will also have informational billboards, newspaper inserts, and radio and TV announcements, in both English and Spanish.”

June Leek, one of the attendees at Tuesday’s senior lunch said, this will be helpful. “It’s very hard when you don’t know where to go when you want your questions answered,” she said. “It’s so confusing, so it’s good you can have somebody to go to that can help.”

Jean Rugenus, project director of the Cumberland County Nutrition Program said she helps answer many of the questions the seniors have, or she turns to the Office on Aging. “But with questions, especially on Medicare Part D, it will be great to have personalized counseling available,” she said.

“Wellness and prevention are also keys to this program,” said Freeholder Dunkins. “We want to make sure our Medicare recipients learn about the free physical exams they’re entitled to and follow up on them.”

Deputy Freeholder Director James A. Dunkins and Office on Aging Executive Director Dale L. Finch share details of a new Medicare education initiative with seniors gathered for lunch Tuesday at the Bridgeton Senior Nutrition Center.
Deputy Freeholder Director James A. Dunkins and Office on Aging Executive Director Dale L. Finch share details of a new Medicare education initiative with seniors gathered for lunch Tuesday at the Bridgeton Senior Nutrition Center.