Seniors: Protect, prevent and prevail this winter

An upcoming event will help Chilton County area seniors and disabled persons in two important tasks — preparing for the flu season and choosing the right Medicare plan.

The Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging will host a vaccination/Medicare counseling event on Tuesday, Oct. 5 from 10:30 to noon at the Clanton Recreation Center on Lay Dam Road.

Flu vaccines will be free to seniors with Medicare Part D or other policies, including VIVA, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Blue Advantage, HealthSpring, AARP Medicare Complete, Advantra, WellCare and Humana PFFS.

Others may also benefit, such as caregivers who are younger than 65, but there will be a one-time fee of $25 to cover the cost of the vaccine.

“The flu vaccine can prevent the flu; it doesn’t give people the flu. Getting a flu vaccination is the best thing you can do to keep from getting sick this flu season,” read a statement from the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services.

CMS recommends that adults 65 and older and people who are under 65 who have a chronic illness, including heart disease, lung disease or end-stage renal disease, get a flu vaccine. Doing so also helps prevent the spread of the flu virus.

Those who attend the clinic may have their current Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan evaluated, or receive assistance in selecting a new plan. Open enrollment for Medicare beneficiaries runs from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31. During this time, individuals may change their policy without penalty.

Because of the vast selection of policies available, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) through M4A, can help individuals narrow their options to what fits their needs best. M4A does not endorse or recommend any particular plan, but instead helps individuals sort through the process.

“Helping individuals narrow down their choices now gives them time to carefully consider which plan works best for them before making a decision in November or December,” said Kelly Flick, director of programs with M4A.

Those who attend should bring a list of medications, a copy of their Medicare card, and the name and location of the pharmacy they use.

For more information, call M4A at 205-670-5770.

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