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Marci helps mind your Medicare matters

I thought it might be helpful to include some “Dear Marci” letters in the Senior News from time to time.

“Dear Marci” is a great resource provided to us by the National SHIP Resource Center SHIP Navigator through the Medicare Rights Center.

I hope you’ll find these real questions helpful. If you need assistance with your Medicare, give us a call to schedule an appointment and we’ll help you navigate through the system. 264-2167.

Dear Marci:

My friend told me that Medicare pays primary, while her secondary insurance pays the rest. What does this mean and when is Medicare primary?


Aiea, Hawaii

Dear Amber:

That’s a great question. It’s important to know when Medicare is primary and when it’s not, so you can avoid billing problems or gaps in coverage. If Medicare is primary, it means that Medicare pays first for health care services you receive. When Medicare is secondary, it means that Medicare pays only after your primary insurance has paid.

For example, when you have both Original Medicare and retiree coverage, Original Medicare is primary and retiree coverage is secondary. Original Medicare pays first, and your retiree coverage pays second. This means that your retiree plan can pay all or some of the leftover health care costs, after Original Medicare has paid.

Keep in mind that there are some rules that will tell you when Medicare is primary and when other insurances are secondary. Remember, if you don’t have primary insurance, your secondary insurance will cover very little of your health care costs or nothing at all.

If you have former employer insurance, such as retiree coverage or COBRA, it will most likely act as secondary insurance and will pay after Medicare. However, if you’re currently working, the rules are a bit different. If you’re still working, Medicare can sometimes be primary and sometimes be secondary, depending on the situation.

Generally, Medicare is primary if:

• You’re 65 years and older and you currently work for a company that has less than 20 employees.

• You’re eligible for Medicare through disability and you currently work for a company with less than 100 employees.

It might be helpful to talk to your benefits manager or human resources department about how your employer insurance works with Medicare. You can call the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Medicare to confirm this information. Also, I’d recommend following the Medicare Rights Center’s checklist of things to do when you’re deciding whether to take Part B.??

If you have Medicare and other types of insurance, you can call the Medicare Coordination of Benefits (COB) Contractor at (800) 999-1118 to learn more about how your different insurances work together. You can also check out this chart from Medicare Interactive to see when Medicare will act as the primary payer.


Identity theft

The Federal Trade Commission has a new ID theft prevention kit: A new suite of materials about identity theft and identity protection is available from the FTC at a brief brochure with topline tips everyone should have, a bigger booklet with step-by-step instructions on dealing with the crime and a brochure on how to recognize a new twist — child identity theft. You’ll also find information on medical and tax-related identity theft and three, new minute-long animated videos that focus on the most important messages.

Identity theft prevention kits (not the same as mentioned above) are available at The Den. Stop in and pick one up.

Art show

We have been enjoying the photo display of Navy photographer Rob Gaston and now it’s time to enjoy our next artist’s work. Who will it be?

Do you have photos, paintings, etc. you would like to display on our dining room walls for the senior diners to enjoy? If so, contact me at 264-2167.

Presentations needed

Do you have something fun to offer in a presentation? Maybe you were the lead spy for FBI, CIA, a Navy Seal or were involved in an exciting mountain expedition? Perhaps you were part of a famous rescue, sang to the president, worked in the White House, cooked for Cary Grant, starred in a movie, specialized in furniture making, invented something or have great vacation slides of another country. If you would like to share your adventures with others, I’d love to hear from you. Please call Musetta at 264-2167.

Reservations, please

You now need to make reservations to dine at Cafe Fox.

I have received notification from the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging requiring a reservation system be in place in an effort to avoid waste; so take time to plan ahead just a wee bit, folks.

You’ll now find we have set out about a week’s worth of reservation lists, enabling you to sign up in advance. If you are already at Cafe Fox, see Rob at the front desk and he’ll help you with your reservation, or call by 9 a.m. the morning you would like to join us; if we are unable to make it to the phone, dial Ext. 27 and leave a message.

For you computer savvy folks we have added a link to our website; please visit, select County Departments and then Senior Services and you’ll see the Meal Reservation link.

Please do not ask to sign up more than a week in advance; we will not able to accommodate your request. We also find that seniors have darn busy schedules and change often, so reserving a seat more than a week in advance could create no-shows, putting us right back to the problem of waste.

Thanks bunches for your assistance and understanding. Make your reservation today at 264-2167, Ext. 27.

Special delivery

Are you struggling to get meals prepared because you are homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness? Let us do the cooking. Enjoy Cafe Fox meals delivered to your door. Our hot meal, home delivery program is available four days per week to those living closer to town, with frozen meals Thursdays and weekends. Those living farther out of town may be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $4 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.?

Free Wi Fi

Cafe Fox is pleased to announce the availability of free WiFi, courtesy of the Ross Aragon Community Center. Beat the heat, join us for lunch and enjoy free WiFi while you’re at it.

Help out

We are accepting applications to assist in our kitchen, library and dining room.

Like to help in the kitchen? Is chopping, slicing, dicing, prepping and stirring your middle name? If so, we need you, and several of you at that. We’d love to have you aboard.

Like to greet people and lend a hand? We have the perfect opportunity for you. We are looking for a few people that would like to greet our folks, introduce new clients to our services, show them the ropes of the dining room and offer assistance to those needing help filling out our new client form. Please call Musetta at 264-2167 for an application.

At your service

Don’t hitchhike, let us do the driving. Get to where you need to go; door to door bus service is available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday for seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day. Come hang out with us and enjoy our company. Call for details, 264-2167.

Special events

Meet Jillian Flathers — second runnerup on the popular TV series Hell’s Kitchen, season 8. Jillian will tell tales of her adventures on Monday, Aug. 6, at 12:30 p.m.. On the show, chef Gordon Ramsay progressively eliminates chefs from a pool of contestants down to one, the winner, and he/she is then given the opportunity to be the head chef at a high-end restaurant. The aspiring chefs are from various backgrounds and are brought to the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant facility in Los Angeles, where they live in the dorms attached to the kitchen facilities during the course of the series. They are introduced to Ramsay and to the audience by cooking their signature dish and presenting to Ramsay for judging. The chefs are subsequently divided into teams, Red and Blue, most often by gender. The restaurant features two identical kitchens, one for each team, and each is supervised by Ramsay’s sous chefs, with Ramsay observing both kitchens for quality control. While in Hell’s Kitchen, the chefs are given a broad array of cooking lessons, including how to cook some of Ramsay’s most difficult dishes such as risotto and Beef Wellington. Jillian is the executive chef at Plaza Grille.

John Graves — ”Witness to Weirdness.” ?John Graves will relate some of the strange experiences he has had with famous personalities in his many show business careers, from meeting Errol Flynn in a shower to playing for Groucho Marx’s amazing party. Meet John Friday, Aug.10, at 12:30 p.m.and witness the weirdness!

Weekly activities

Friday, Aug. 3 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 a.m. Brain Injury Support Group; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

Monday, Aug. 6 — 12:30 p.m. Jillian Flathers; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Canasta.

Tuesday, Aug. 7 — 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, Aug. 8 — 11 a.m. blood pressure checks.

Thursday, Aug. 9 — 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. lunch.

Friday, Aug. 10 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 12:30 p.m. John Graves; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

This week’s Menu

Reservations required by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine at Cafe Fox — 264-2167, Ext. 27.

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $4, guests $6, kids 12 and under $3. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $10.50. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar begins at 11:30 a.m., with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m. Call 264-2167, Ext. 27, for reservations.

Friday, Aug. 3 — Honey BBQ chicken, oven browned potatoes, spinach, fresh apple, bran muffin.

Monday, Aug. 6 — Grilled ham and Swiss on whole wheat bread, homemade tomato soup, whole wheat crackers, salad, banana slices with orange juice.

Tuesday, Aug. 7 — Ground beef and turkey tacos, salsa, refried beans, fiesta corn, fruit salad.

Wednesday, Aug. 8 — Spinach lasagna, Italian vegetables, salad, strawberry fluff with banana slices, Italian bread.

Thursday, Aug. 9 — Smothered chicken with gravy, cornbread stuffing, plums, peas, creamy coleslaw, whole wheat roll.

Friday, Aug. 10 — Crunchy baked fish, tartar sauce, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad, banana.

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