Senior Connection

Jun 30, 2009

Drug Companies Pledge $80 BILLION FOR OLDER ADULTS IN Health Care Reform

The White House announced an agreement with brand-name drug manufacturers to provide discounts of up to 50 percent for older adults and people with disabilities when they reach the coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. The discount agreement would take effect only if it is part of successful health reform legislation.

Drug companies said they would give most people with Medicare a discount of up to 50 percent on brand-name and biologic medicines, but not generic drugs, that they purchase when they are in the coverage gap. Currently, Medicare Part D plans cover 75 percent of drug costs until the total amount (what the enrollee pays plus what the plan pays) reaches $2,700, and then individuals with Medicare must pay the full price for their drugs until their out-of-pocket spending exceeds $4,350.

The commitment came in a deal with the White House and Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. However, the White House estimated that out of the $80 billion, $30 billion would be used to assist people with Medicare when they are in the doughnut hole, according to the New York Times. The other $50 billion reflects savings to the government that could be used as part of the health care reform package, but these savings have not yet been identified.

According to reports by the White House, people with Medicare Part D will not need to complete complicated paperwork to obtain the drug discounts directly from their pharmacies. Although individuals with Part D will pay half the cost of their drugs while they are in the coverage gap, the full cost of medicines will count toward their out-of-pocket limit. Courtesy of Medicarerights

Jun 24, 2009

"The Reverse Mortgage Man"

"The Reverse Mortgage Man"
07/07/09 @ 10:00 AM
What is a Reverse Mortgage? Would it be right for you or your loved one? Do you have questions about how reverse mortgages work? If you are an elder, a caregiver or a professional we have all the answers to these and other related questions. The Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging will collaborate with Joe DeMarkey, MetLife Bank to offer . . . [Learn More]

Jun 21, 2009

Music Therapy Might Soften Depression Symptoms

Music therapy might help ease the symptoms of depression, though its effectiveness as a stand-alone intervention is not certain, according to a recent review of five small studies.

Four of the studies found reduced depression symptoms in participants receiving music therapy compared to those who did not. The fifth study did not find any difference.

The benefits of music appeared greatest when providers used theory-based therapeutic techniques rather than “winging it.”

. . . to read the entire article Please Click Here.

Jun 1, 2009

Stimulus Check Scams

Q: Are seniors being targeted by stimulus check scams?

A: Yes. It’s scam time across America, because in May the federal government sent out $250 economic recovery payments to more than 50 million people who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement (RRB) or Veterans Administration (VA) disability benefits. No action on your part was required to get the payment, which was sent separately from your regular monthly payment. But all that money has attracted scam artists on the internet.

To be mailed a payment, you must have received a Social Security, SSI, RRB or VA benefit during the months of November 2008, December 2008, or January 2009. You should not contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) unless a payment is not received by June 4th.

Anytime millions of people are waiting for checks, scam artists are waiting to take advantage of them. In one scam, an email was sent out bearing a picture of President Barack Obama, promising a “free stimulus check” of varying amounts, from $613.27 to several thousand dollars. Recipients of the email were directed to another website, where they have to “participate in the program” in order to get a check. Participation requires that they complete several “reward offers,” such as magazine subscriptions the consumer has to buy, or getting a credit card that’s only activated with a purchase.

Another scam sends consumers something that appears to be a stimulus check. Instructions tell consumers to call a toll-free number. When they do, they’re told to deposit the check---but to wire a certain amount back, either to enter into foreclosure rescue or to get information on how to use stimulus money to buy foreclosed properties in the area.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that scam operators ask you to send a small processing fee, supposedly to get a much larger check in return. Or, scammers ask for your bank account number so they can “deposit” your check. Then, they use the information to clean out your account or open new ones using your identifying information. Some stimulus scams encourage you to click on internet links, open attached forms, or call phony toll-free numbers. But simply clicking the link or opening the document can install harmful software, like spyware, on your computer. The result could be your personal information ending up in the hands of an identity thief.

If you come across suspected scams, there are various places for you to file complaints. To file a complaint about frauds, go to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, or email your report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at E-mail scams referred to as “phishing” seek personal data and financial account information that enables another party to access your bank account or to engage in identity theft.

The important thing to remember is that the Treasury Department, the IRS, your bank, and your credit card company----none of them---will call you up or email you for private account information---because they already have it. If you get an email or a phone call asking for bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or offering you economic stimulus money---report them. For more on stimulus check scams, go to


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.