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Ohio Senior Citizens, Age 55
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BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT Newsletter - Delaware County Prosecutor's Office Newsletter - read more

How To Get Rid Of Bedbugs - read more

Understanding the Assisted Living Waiver Program - A Consumer’s Guide - read more

Home energy costs particularly affects Ohioans on fixed or low incomes. Below are organizations that provide programs and information to help eligible older Ohioans meet the rising costs of energy:

- Ohio Department of Development

- Ohio Consumers' Counsel

- Public Utilities Commission of Ohio

General Programs to Assist Ohio Seniors include:

- Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) www.goldenbuckeye.com

- Ohio Department of Insurance. Free health insurance information and services for people with Medicare.

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News

From Lt. Governor / Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor

Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program Guide

This Guide to Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Options and Part D is provided by the Ohio Department of Insurance to give you clear,  unbiased, educational  information  on  your Medicare  insurance options in Ohio.

It provides an overview of the Medicare program in general, and details the specifics of your Medicare Supplemental (MedSup) insurance choices. Information in this comprehensive guide includes Medicare basics, when and how to enroll in original Medicare, choosing a MedSup plan, how to use premium charts, and Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). This information is designed to guide you in your Medicare selection and help you compare your policy coverage and cost.

Choosing the right insurance plan is an important decision and the Ohio Department  of  Insurance  is  here  to help.  If  you  have  questions  after reading  this  guide,  please  call  the Department’s  Ohio  Senior  Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) at 1-800-686-1578 or email us at oshiipmail@insurance.ohio.gov.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PDF FILE


CURRENT ARTICLES

- Protection from Holiday Mishaps with Adequate Insurance Protection

- Check-Up Day Event During Medicare Open Enrollment

- Social Security - Facts of Social Security Disability Program

- Discount of Free Cell Phone Services

- April is History of Older Americans Month

- Did You Receive an Identity Confirmation Quiz Letter?

- Protecting elderly Ohioans from Abuse and Neglect  

- Top 5 Reasons Why Seniors are Targets

→ Note: Use Scroll Bar to access articles

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor is reminding Ohioans as they prepare to celebrate the holiday season – and the mishaps that can come along with it – that they should review their insurance policies to avoid potential coverage gaps and determine if adjustments are needed.

“The holiday season is about enjoying time with our loved ones and friends, but unfortunately a unique set of risks can quickly spoil the good cheer,” said Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Speak with your insurance agent to ensure you have appropriate coverage this holiday season.”

Protect yourself financially from these holiday hazards with adequate insurance:

Auto Insurance
A visiting relative or friend is in an accident while driving your vehicle
Auto insurance coverage follows either the vehicle or the operator, so your car should generally be covered while your friend or relative is driving. Policy language will determine if the owner or the operator’s policy is primary.  However, if your friend slides off the road due to ice and you only have liability coverage, there may not be coverage for any damage to the car itself. Check with your insurance agent or company to understand which policy is primary in this type of situation.

Homeowners Insurance
Someone steals holiday decorations from your front yard
Under a standard homeowners insurance policy, decorations are generally covered, subject to your policy deductible and coverage limits.  These items would also generally be covered if you have a condominium or renters insurance policy.  A renters policy may exclude outside decorations.

Presents are stolen from your home or your vehicle
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies provide coverage for the theft of gifts, subject to the policy deductible and coverage limits.  Some auto policies also provide coverage. If this happens to you, talk with your insurance agent or company to find out under which policy you should file your claim. If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, the cost to repair the damage should be covered and may be subject to the deductible.

Your coworker slips and falls on your icy driveway at your New Year's Eve party
A standard homeowners insurance policy can provide limited medical payment coverage when your guest needs medical attention. A standard homeowners insurance policy will also provide liability coverage should the guest seek compensation for additional damages. Check with your insurance agent or company to be sure you have adequate liability limits.

An ice or snowstorm causes a tree to fall through the front window of your house
Standard homeowners insurance policies generally provide coverage for damage to the home, less your deductible. In addition, the cost to remove the tree is typically covered up to a certain amount. Check your policy to find out what limit of coverage you have. However, it’s not likely your homeowners policy will help you purchase a new tree.

A kitchen accident or holiday candles cause a house fire
A standard homeowners insurance policy will cover your home and belongings destroyed by a fire, up to policy limits and subject to a deductible. Standard homeowner policies typically provide additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a fire or other disaster.

Credit Card Theft
Someone uses your credit card to buy a big screen television
The purchase might be covered as part of your contract with your credit card company. Standard homeowners insurance policies typically provide a limited amount of coverage toward your legal obligation to pay your credit card company. However, there is no coverage if, for example, a family member entrusted with the card buys a big screen television. Federal law also limits a cardholder’s responsibility as long as the credit card company is promptly notified per the cardholder agreement.

Health Insurance
You drink some bad eggnog and end up in an urgent care facility while you are out of state
Your visit is likely covered under your health insurance policy. If you plan to travel, remember to take health insurance information for all family members – including your identification cards and contact details – with you. Co-payments with urgent care visits are typically lower than co-payments for emergency room visits. Before leaving, check with your insurance company about in-network healthcare providers at your destination. If you receive medical care from an out-of-network provider, you might be subject to higher deductibles and/or higher co-payments.

Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Ohio Department of Insurance consumer hotline at 800-686-1526. Insurance information is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov.


Lt. Governor Taylor Urges Ohioans to Attend OSHIIP’s.  Check-Up Day Events During Medicare Open Enrollment

COLUMBUS – Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor announced today that the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), a division of the Ohio Department of Insurance, will host Medicare Check-Up Day events throughout the state to help Ohioans understand their most suitable coverage options for 2016. Medicare’s annual open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

“Now is the time to evaluate Medicare coverage and determine what changes may have occurred in benefits and plans,” said Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “OSHIIP will hold events in counties across the state to help Ohioans understand the different coverage choices available as they plan for the upcoming year.”

During Medicare’s annual open enrollment, Ohioans can to choose to select Original Medicare paired with a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan and possibly a Medicare Supplement plan; or a Medicare Advantage Plan, which provides comprehensive health benefits including drug coverage; or determine if their existing coverage will meet their health insurance needs.

Attendees can also learn more about recent Medicare changes, such as new deductibles, co-payments, coinsurance amounts and financial assistance programs, which include help with prescription costs and Part B premium savings. The non-profit Pro Seniors and its fraud-fighting Ohio Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) will be present at the Check-Up Day events to encourage people on Medicare to protect their Medicare card, and explain how to detect fraudulent behavior and report issues to the SMP.

Ohioans should be aware of predatory sales practices during open enrollment. Insurance agents are prohibited from using high-pressure sales tactics, conducting door-to-door sales or representing themselves as a Medicare agent. If you suspect wrongdoing or have been victimized, call the department’s Fraud and Enforcement hotline at 1-800-686-1527 or the SMP at 1-800-488-6070.  

Those unable to attend a Medicare Check-Up Day event and have enrollment questions or need financial assistance may contact OSHIIP at 1-800-686-1578, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. Information including specific plan details is available at www.medicare.gov.

To view a complete listing of Medicare Check-Up Day events, visit OSHIIP’s Medicare Check-Up and Annual Enrollment Toolkit page at www.insurance.ohio.gov/Consumer/Pages/MedicareToolkit.aspx. The toolkit includes a link to a Medicare Plan Finder, financial assistance information and more helpful tips. You can also visit www.insurance.ohio.gov and follow OSHIIP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OSHIIP.


Social Security - Learn the Facts of Disability

Did you know that fifty-six million Americans live with disabilities? Disability is something many read or hear about happening to others, but no one thinks will happen to them. Learn some of the most common facts:

Social Security disability insurance is coverage that workers earn - Social Security disability is a social insurance program under which workers earn coverage for benefits, by working and paying Social Security taxes on their earnings. The program provides benefits to disabled workers and to their dependents. For those who can no longer work due to a disability, our disability program is there to replace some of their lost income.

The Social Security Act defines disability very strictly - Eligibility rules for Social Security's disability program differ from those of private plans or other government agencies. Social Security doesn't provide temporary or partial disability benefits, like workers' compensation or veterans' benefits do.  To receive disability benefits, a person must meet the definition of disability under the Social Security Act (Act). A person is disabled under the Act if he or she can't work due to a severe medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death. The person's medical condition must prevent him or her from doing work that he or she did in the past, and it must prevent the person from adjusting to other work.  Because the Act defines disability so strictly, Social Security disability beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired in the country. In fact, Social Security disability beneficiaries are more than three times as likely to die in a year as other people the same age. Among those who start receiving disability benefits at the age of 55, 1-in-5 men and 1-in-7 women die within five years of the onset of their disabilities.

Disability is unpredictable and can happen to anyone at any age - 56 million Americans, or 1-in-5, live with disabilities. Thirty-eight million disabled Americans, or 1-in-10, live with severe disabilities. Disability is something many Americans, especially younger people, think can only affect the lives of other people. Tragically, thousands of young people are seriously injured or killed, often as the result of traumatic events. Many serious medical conditions, such as cancer or mental illness, can affect the young as well as the elderly. The sobering fact for 20-year-olds, insured for disability benefits, is that more than 1-in-4 of them becomes disabled before reaching retirement age. As a result, they may need to rely on the Social Security disability benefits for income support. Our disability benefits provide a critical source of financial support to people when they need it most.

Social Security disability payments are modest - At the beginning of 2015, Social Security paid an average monthly disability benefit of $1,165. That is barely enough to keep a beneficiary above the 2014 poverty level ($11,670 annually). For many beneficiaries, their monthly disability payment represents most of their income. Even these modest payments can make a huge difference in the lives of people who can no longer work. They allow people to meet basic needs and the needs of their families.

As experts projected for decades, the number of people qualifying for Social Security disability benefits has increased - For almost 60 years, Social Security disability has helped increasing numbers of workers and their families replace lost income. Several factors have contributed to this increase, which the Social Security Trustees and our actuaries have projected for decades. The primary factors contributing to the increase are:  (1)  The baby boomers (people born in 1946 through 1965) reached their most disability-prone years between 1990 and 2011; and (2)  More women have joined the workforce in the past few decades and have worked consistently enough to qualify for benefits if they become disabled.  Despite the increase, the 9 million or so people getting a Social Security disability benefit represent just a small subset of Americans living with disabilities.

Social Security works aggressively to prevent, detect, and prosecute fraud - Social Security, along with the Office of the Inspector General, aggressively identifies and prosecutes those who commit fraud. Our zero tolerance approach has resulted in a fraud incidence rate that is a fraction of one percent.   One of our most effective measures to guard against fraud is the Cooperative Disability Investigations program. Under the program, we investigate suspicious disability claims early, before making a decision to award benefits. In effect, we proactively stop fraud before it happens. In fiscal year 2012, with the help of state and local law enforcement, the program reported nearly $340 million in projected savings to the disability programs. This resulted in a return on investment of $17 for each $1 spent.  Eradicating fraud is a team effort. We need people who suspect something to say something. If you suspect fraud, please contact the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or visit us at http://oig.ssa.gov and click on Report Fraud, Waste, or Abuse.  

Get Fact Sheet - Download a copy of these facts and spread the word about Social Security's disability insurance program.  DOWNLOAD


Discount Phone Services or Free Cell Phone

Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. In 2005, Lifeline discounts were made available to qualifying low-income consumers on pre-paid wireless service plans in addition to traditional landline service. Lifeline is part of the Universal Service Fund.

The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. Consumers with proper proof of eligibility may be qualified to enroll.

To participate in the program, consumers must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in one of the following assistance programs:  Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP); Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Federal Public House Assistance (Section 8); Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program; Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance; Tribally-Administered Temporary Assitance for Needy Families (TTANF); Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR); Head Start (if come eligibility criteria are met); or State assistance programs (if applicable).  

Federal rules prohibit eligible low-income consumers from receiving more than one Lifeline discount per household.  An eligible consumer may receive a discount on either a wireline or wireless service, but not both.  A consumer whose household currently is receiving more than one Lifeline service must select a single Lifeline provider and contact the other provider to de-enroll from their program. Consumers violating this rule may also be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties.

The Lifeline program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).  USAC is responsible for data collection and maintenance, support calculation, and disbursement for the low-income program.  USAC’s website provides information regarding administrative aspects of the low-income program, as well as program requirements.

On January 31, 2012, the Commission adopted comprehensive reform and modernization of the Lifeline program.   As a universal service program that fulfills Congress’s mandate to ensure the availability of communications to all Americans, Lifeline for the nearly 30 years, has helped tens of millions of low-income Americans afford basic phone service.  Access to telephone service is essential for finding a job, connecting with family, or getting help in an emergency.

For additional information and links to different programs, click here >


History of Older Americans Month

In April, 1963, President John F. Kennedy met with the National Council on Senior Citizens. Their meeting was the foundation for an annual observation of May as Senior Citizens Month. Every President since has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. President Jimmy Carter originated the title of Older Americans Month in his 1980 proclamation.

In 1963, only 17 million Americans were age 65 or older and about a third of them lived in poverty. Today, there are more than 36 million Americans over the age of 65, accounting for 12 percent of the total population, though only 10 percent live in poverty. The oldest of the baby boom generation began turning 60 in 2006. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that, by 2050, 87 million Americans will be age 65 or older, accounting for 21 percent of the population.

Ohio has supported statewide activities for Older Americans Month since 1977. Each year, the Department of Aging announces a unique theme celebrating some of the many aspects of our older citizens. Past themes are:

    2015: Well Beyond 60!

    2014: Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.

    2013: Unleash the Power: Be a Golden Buckeye!

    2012: never too old to...

    2011: Older Ohioans - Connecting Communities

    2010: Age Strong! Live Long!

    2009: Reinvent Yourself, Reinvent Aging

    2008: Loving Life, Helping Others, Supporting Communities

    2007: Be Your Best: Body, Mind and Spirit

    2006: Be Healthy, Be Vibrant!

    2005: Celebrate Long-term Living

    2004: Aging Well, Living Well

    2003: What We Do Makes a Difference

    2002: America: A Community for All Ages

    2001: Seniors in the Swing of Things

    2000: Ohio… a Great Place to Grow Up, and a Great Place to Grow Old!

    1999: Honor the Past, Imagine the Future: Towards a Society for All Ages

    1998: Living Longer, Growing Stronger - A Salute to Ohio's Senior Citizens

    1997: Celebrate a Tradition - Ohio's 20th Senior Citizen's Day

    1996: Aging: A Lifetime Opportunity

    1995: As Time Goes By

    1994: Honoring Our Heritage; Framing Our Future

    1993: Share the Journey

    1992: In Honor of Diversity

    1991: Ohio's Seniors: Our Brightest Stars

    1990: A Partnership of Ages

    1989: Caring and Sharing: Generations in Action

    1988: A Celebration of Age

    1987: Reach new Heights

    1986: Unfold a Celebration

    1985: Join the Young at Heart

    1984: We're Celebrating Senior Citizens Day Across the Whole Bloomin' State

    1983: Senior Citizens - Weavers of Life's Tapestry

    1982: Senior Citizens - A Growing Voice

    1981: Senior Citizens - Ohio's Greatest Resource

    1980: Senior Citizens - Beautiful Ohioans

    1979: Older Ohioans - Partners in the Community

    1978: Older Ohioans - Up to Date in '78

    1977: Senior Citizens in Action


Did You Receive an Identity Confirmation Quiz Letter?

With income tax fraud and identity theft on the rise, the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) is committed to safeguarding taxpayer dollars by increasing security measures. The identity confirmation quiz is just one of the tools ODT is using to prevent fraudsters from receiving a refund as a result of identity theft.

If you received a letter from ODT, you’ll need to complete a simple quiz to confirm your identity. The ODT will ONLY contact you via a letter. If you received a phone call or email, DO NOT respond to it. If you believe you are victim of Identity Theft & Income Tax Fraud, contact the Ohio Criminal Investigations Division at 614-466-6939 or 800-757-6091.  If you did not receive a letter, the quiz is not available to you. The quiz should take just a few minutes of your time. Once you have successfully completed the quiz ODT will continue processing your return. For more information about the quiz, click here >

For non-Ohio residents who suspect ID Theft, click here >


Protecting elderly Ohioans from Abuse and Neglect

Ohio needs to do more to protect its growing senior population from abuse. As pointed out in a recent article by The Columbus Dispatch, the “State does relatively little to help Ohio seniors who are abused, neglected and exploited.”  The reasons sited include the quickly growing senior population and lack of funding and resources in many Ohio counties.  Even though House Bill 483 passed in 2014, and provides more services to the poor and vulnerable with additional resources for education, and vital investments in local governments, The Columbus Dispatch noted that elder can be easy victims from family members, caregivers and other entrusted to protect them.
To read the full article, click here>  


Top 5 Reasons Why Seniors are Targets

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Never underestimate the resourcefulness of scammers. Some drive around neighborhoods during the day, looking for older adults working in the yard or getting their mail. Scammers make a note of addresses, return and try to sell the seniors on an unnecessary repair, such as getting their roofs fixed. Click here for tips on how you can avoid scammers now >>