Monday, 1 October 2012

Ask an Expert: Medicare


I am 66 years old, still working, and plan to retire at the end of this year. I have a Health Plan with my current employer and didn’t take Medicare Part B when I turned 65 last year.

When can I apply for Part B because my company doesn’t have a Retirement Health plan?  Will Medicare A and B cover all my medical expenses including my medicines?


If you already know that you will retire at the end of 2012, you should go to your local Social Security Administration office to apply for Medicare Part B 2-3 months before the employer plan ends, and let Social Security know that you want your Part B to begin January 1, 2012.  Since your Medicare Part B will be in effect on 1/1/2013, you won’t have a gap without insurance benefits.

You also should request a verification letter from your current employer indicating that you had Employer Group Health coverage until 12/30/2012 that qualifies you for a Part B Special Enrollment Period.  People who have creditable insurance like you won’t have a penalty for enrolling late in Part B.  You actually have 8 months from when your Employer Group Health Plan ends to enroll in Part B, but I strongly suggest that you apply as soon as possible to avoid any gaps in coverage.

In general, Medicare A and B covers hospital and outpatient medical services, and to get coverage for medications  you need to enroll in aStand alone Part D drug plan, or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MA-PD) within 63 days from the last day of your employer plan.

Please call HICAP at 1-800-434-0222 for further assistance because there are many Part D and MAPD plans to compare and you need to you choose a plan that will meet your needs.

Tyree Ngo
HICAP Counselor
Ms. Ngo has served for over 5 years as a HICAP Counselor at the Council on Aging.  Her specialty is outreach to our Vietnamese community.  Ms. Tyreewrites a Medicare article in the Nguoi-viet Daily News ( and is also a monthly contributor on Me VN Radio 106.3 FM.
Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Avoid the Heat!

According to the CDC, extreme heat cause more deaths than hurricanes, lighting, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods – combined! Older adults over 65 are especially vulnerable to rising temperatures.

How can you avoid the heat? Here are some great tips from

1. If possible seek an air-conditioned environment. If you do not have air-conditioning at home, visit an air-conditioned shopping mall, restaurant or library. During extreme heat warnings, cities often set up cooling centers for the public to escape the heat. If you cannot leave your home, take a cool shower or place cool towels around pulse points such as the neck and armpits.
2. Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages without too much sugar. When the body sweats, it loses vital salts and minerals, so grab a sports drink or a Pedialyte. If your liquid intake is limited, eat cold fruits that contain high amounts of water like apples, watermelon and cantaloupe.
3. Stay out of the sun during the warmest parts of the day—usually between 10 or 11 am and 3 or 4 pm—and wear weather appropriate clothing that is loose fitting with light fabrics.
4. Use a buddy system. Ask a friend or relative to call and check on you twice a day. If you know someone 60 or older, call to check on them twice a day.
5.Hire a caregiver from a reputable agency that specializes in in-home senior care and who is trained in senior safety. They can provide care on an hourly or live-in basis, depending on the senior’s needs.


Also be sure to check on older adults you know, whether they are family, friends, or neighbors and make sure they are staying cool as we move into the fall months.