My Birthday, OMG! Turning 65…

Never in my tenure on this planet have so many been looking forward to my birthday. For several months now I’ve been getting reminders of the impending occasion in the mail. How does EVERYONE know that I’ll be turning 65?

Of course turning 65 means that I become eligible for Medicare and need to think about how that applies to me. I’m learning. The tools that I have found most helpful are the Medicare ( and Social Security ( websites. If you don’t have Internet access at your home, Internet search stations are available at all Washington County Libraries. All you need to login is the barcode from your library card and a PIN number, the last four digits of your phone number. Persons eligible for Medicare are encouraged to signup online.

A wonderful resource – and a more personal approach — for seniors trying to make a decision about health care choices is the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA). MAAA offers health insurance counseling services through the Senior LinkAge Line® to Medicare beneficiaries of all ages and their caregivers in the Metro area. Counseling is provided by state-certified Health Insurance Counseling staff or volunteers and may take place over the phone at 1-800-333-2433, or in-person at community sites, or in seniors’ homes.

Two community sites that offer health insurance counseling in Washington County are: South Washington County Senior Community Center, 8400 E Point Douglas Rd S, Cottage Grove, with appointments scheduled by calling 1-800-333-2433; and Community Thread, 2300 W Orleans St, Stillwater, with appointments scheduled by calling 651-439-7434; appointments there are offered on the 2nd Mondays of each month from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Want to hear someone talk about the basics of Medicare? MAAA will present the program “Understanding Medicare – An Overview” on Monday, March 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Park Grove Library, 7900 Hemingway Ave S, Cottage Grove. The presentation reviews what is covered by Parts A, B, C and D of Medicare, as well as Medicare supplement options available. Recent changes to Medicare as a result of health care reform will also be reviewed as well as examples of Medicare fraud and abuse.

Deciding about Medicare seems like a daunting challenge with its myriad alphabet of offerings, but with some careful reading and re-reading, and perhaps a conversation with a counselor, the path forward doesn’t seem quite so formidable.     

Library Woman is Joey Halbach, Community Relations Librarian for Washington County Library. Contact her at: