CLOCK IS TICKING

People with Medicare have until Saturday, Dec. 7, to select their Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan coverage for 2020. To ensure you have the right Medicare plan in place come Jan. 1, it’s important to focus on these four key questions:

Are my doctors in network? Use online tools to confirm which doctors and hospitals are in a plan’s network. A licensed health insurance agent can also help you see if a specific doctor or hospital is in a plan’s network and taking new patients, and determine what’s in network if you’re a seasonal resident.

Are my prescription drugs covered?

Although Original Medicare does not cover most prescription drugs, many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, or you can sign up for a Part D Prescription Drug Plan separately. A licensed sales agent can look up the medications you would like covered and help you estimate what the cost of each drug would be on a plan.

  What new, innovative benefits are available?

Beyond vision, hearing and dental coverage, if you aim to become healthier, look for fitness program benefits as many Medicare Advantage plans offer a gym membership. If you travel or appreciate technology, virtual doctor visits are helpful when you can’t see a doctor right away. Most Medicare Advantage plans now offer transportation to doctor appointments and the gym, when a fitness center membership is offered as a plan benefit.

What if I’m still working?

If you or your spouse have health insurance from an employer, you may be able to delay enrolling in Medicare until the employment or the coverage stops. At that point, you would be entitled to a special enrollment period of up to eight months to sign up for Medicare without incurring any late penalties. Talk with your employer to find out how your coverage works with Medicare.

While the clock is ticking until the Dec. 7 Medicare annual enrollment deadline, remember you’re not alone. Take advantage of resources including licensed sales agents and websites such as medicare.gov and humana.com/medicare.  You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (or TTY: 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call Humana at 1-800-213-5286 (TTY: 711) 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time seven days a week.

~ RICK BEAVIN

CALIFORNIA MARKET PRESIDENT

HUMANA

NEW REALITIES

We are all in agreement about President Trump’s perfidy and manic decisions. Of course he needs to be impeached and then removed from office by the Senate, forthwith.

The latter ain’t gonna happen, though. We now live in a society where facts themselves are enemies, and ill-willed partisans marshal anger against them. I sometimes imagine that Trumpsters view him the way one might view professional wrestlers — as a fake show that still amazes with its over-the-top, well-rehearsed performances. Some will say we have been dazzled by fantasy for centuries and fact-challenged for quite some time, but I disagree.

Fantasy once had its limited niche in our struggling rational consciousness, while now it is our consciousness. Talking and learning from rational people with different opinions and values keeps us sane. That talk across the political divide has been shut down. I honestly wouldn’t know how to express my worries and remedies for our country to an ardent Trump supporter, though I can imagine a different time when that may have been possible.

There has always been anti-science know-nothings and religious fanatics, true. But the shift to pervasive crazy talk about our society over informed debate has overtaken us quite quickly as have the effects of climate change. Projecting remedies for global warming out to 2050 is obviously too long an arc for our various eco-fixes. The shift in climate afflicts the world already.

And our ability to curb the worst of political fanaticism may actually take that long — at least a generation or two. And we will have to fix our political system the way we are trying to fix the way we live on the planet — with both radical and incremental changes. The analogy I’m posing here indicates we may need to adapt to our new political realities the way I believe we must to climate change — not just preserving nor restoring but adapting to changed conditions, which is nature’s way. What might that mean? Maybe that can inform the conversation over a problematic national holiday but one officially dedicated to sharing food, friendship and gratitude.

~ ROBERT CHIANESE

VIA EMAIL

CORRECTION

In our Nov. 28 edition we incorrectly stated that the Pasadena Board of Education decided to place an $850 million bond measure on the November ballot. The board actually tabled the matter until an unspecified date.