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Are You Turning 65? Here's Your Chance to Learn about Medicare.

April 08, 2014

 Free seminar will give seniors useful information about benefits, eligibility and enrollment

One common question from many people turning 65 this year is, "In enrolling for Medicare, do I need to do anything different under the Affordable Care Act?" The answer: No.

Kristi Caracappa, coordinator of the Health Insurance Information Service at Washington Hospital. "If you were born in 1949, you are turning 65 this year and that may make you eligible for Medicare. The provisions of the Affordable Care Act have not changed this."

If you have questions about MedicareÑAre you eligible? What does it cover? How and when do you apply? - You'll get the answers at an upcoming free Health & Wellness seminar sponsored by Washington Hospital. The event, Medicare: "Are You Turning 65?" will take place on Tuesday, April 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditoriums, Rooms A&B, located in the Washington West building at 2500 Mowry Ave. in Fremont. To register for the free seminar, visit and click on Community Connection or call (800) 963-7070.

If you'll be turning 65 soon, or if you are a caregiver for someone who is a Medicare recipient, this is your opportunity to learn about Medicare, including the prescription drug plan called Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage, Medicare's HMO and PPO options.

"As they approach age 65, some people feel overwhelmed by all the information about Medicare," explained Caracappa. "There are so many benefits, but once you understand the details, it becomes a fairly easy process. It's just a matter of having the tools and information to make the right decisions, and weÕll help provide this at the seminar."

Caracappa, who will present the seminar, works with community members every day to educate them about their various health insurance options, including Medicare. She helps people select the right plan for their needs. This service has been available to the community since 1996.

"It's all about making an informed decision about your health insurance,"she explained. "There has been a lot of change in the health care insurance marketplace in the last few years, but the basics about Medicare eligibility and enrollment have not altered."

"During the seminar, we encourage interactive communication, so you'll have an opportunity to ask and get answers to the questions youÕve been thinking about," Caracappa continued. "And, if you have further concerns, you can call and arrange a free individual consultation."

The seminar is designed to present what you need to know as you become eligible for Medicare. Discussions will include how Medi-Cal works with Medicare and the difference between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare supplement plans. There will also be information about your options under Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan. If you are working, the seminar will cover how to transition from a group health insurance plan to Medicare when you retire.

"If you or your spouse is working and you are covered under the company's health plan, you may not have to do anything right now," stated Caracappa. "But, you should be aware of how to transition to Medicare when you retire."

Through the Health Insurance Information Service, Washington Hospital provides free, unbiased and confidential information so people can get the information they need and select the right plan for them. When possible, the service also provides assistance with enrollment.

Reach the Health Insurance Information office by calling (800) 770-9447 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can have your questions answered over the phone or set up an appointment to come in for a personal consultation.

Learn more.

To find out more about all the services provided by the Washington Hospital Health Insurance Service and to access information that will help you make an informed decision about your health care plan, visit To learn more about Washington Hospital, go to