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Senior News: Choosing a health plan that’s right for you

Medicare Open Enrollment starts October 15th and you have until Dec. 7 to make changes to your Medicare Advantage, Medigap or prescription drug plans.

You should be receiving or already have received your Annual Notice of Change regarding your plans. Review the changes carefully, particularly changes in cost, physician network and any changes in the prescriptions covered by your insurance company.

Even if you are satisfied with your current plan, you still may want to look around to see if there is a better deal. I know many folks have avoided the hassle of comparing plans over the past several years and just opted to automatically renew their current plans.

Choosing the type of health insurance coverage is confusing. Before I was covered by Medicare, I relied upon the judgment of my employer or an insurance agent in choosing a plan. I was insulated from all the complexity of choosing health insurance coverage.

Now it’s our responsibility to wade through the information and compare plans to make the best choice. But there is help.

There are private insurance brokers who specialize in Medicare. You can go online to which has valuable information including the Plan Finder option or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

You can also visit the Oregon SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) website.

If you would rather talk to someone face to face, you can call the Mid-Columbia Senior Center and make an appointment with a SHIBA volunteer who will help guide you through the process.

If you want to better understand the ins and outs of Medicare, Part A, B, C, and, Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans — and all the timelines and deadlines — you are invited to attend a Medicare 101 class on Tuesday, Oct. 6, from 1-4 p.m. at the CGCC in room 301.

Reserve your spot by calling 541-308-8211 or register online at

I finally replaced the quilt, won by Sherry Dufault, which was hanging in the center’s lobby, with a new quilt that will be raffled off in December. Besides hand-stitching beautiful quilts to raffle, the center quilters also repair quilts for a very reasonable price.

If interested call the center or you can find them downstairs every Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and they always have room for new members.

The start of the annual flu season is unpredictable — starting as early as October and extending even into May. The CDC recommends that you get your flu shot by October. Rite-Aid will be conducting a Flu Shot Clinic at the center on Wednesday, Oct.7, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. And to shorten the wait, we are asking you to sign up ahead of time by calling the center.

In conjunction with the Flu Shot Clinic, the center’s 11 a.m. Tuesday lecture on Oct. 6 will feature Chryll Cromier, local Rite Aid pharmacist. She will be discussing the pharmacist’s expanding role in maintaining your health plus answer questions about different vaccines from Shingles to Flu shots.

The Zumba Gold class led by Marsha Morrison is held every Tuesday and Thursday mornings downstairs at the center, but the time has changed. It is now starting 15 minutes earlier from 10:45 to 11:30 p.m. The cost is $3 for every session.

Last reminder. The Baby Back Rib dinner supporting Meals-on-Wheels and the center is Friday night from 4:30 to 7 p.m. For only $15, there will be great food, music and a silent auction generously sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek. For Tuesday Night Music at the center on Oct. 6, Andre, KC and Tom will be playing. The doors open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

The American author and nutritionist who became the most recognized nutritionist in the 1960s and 1970’s was Adelle Davis. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket and who owned several of Davis’s books in the 70’s is Dottie Layer.)

In August of 1951, the NY Giants were 12 one-half games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. But by winning 37 of their last 44 games, they caught their cross town rivals, to force a three game playoff. In the third game, trailing 4-1 in the 9th inning, who hit the winning homerun known in baseball lore as the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World?” Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the "The Staten Island Scot.”

Well, it’s been another week, shoes strings tied and raring to go. Until we meet again, don’t let fear take hold of the steering wheel.


Wednesday (30) Stroganoff over Noodles (Soup and Salad Bar)

Thursday (1) Oven Baked Chicken

Friday (2) Hot Turkey Sandwich (Soup and Salad Bar)

Monday (5) Beef Stew

Tuesday (6) Lemon Pepper Fish


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