By Ali Nicole

MAC Inc., the Area Agency on Aging, provides a variety of resources to help seniors live independently. One of those resources is free courses about topics of interest. 

This month, MAC is hosting a free course, Aging Into Medicare, to help those approaching the switch to Medicare learn more about the coverage.

The MAC Center offers free classes regularly about Medicare. The next class is Tuesday, July 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at MAC Inc. located at 909 Progress Circle in Salisbury. 

Space is limited so registration is required. To register, call 410-742-0505, ext. 113. 

This class is being presented through the internal programming of MAC Inc. and in partnership with Peninsula Home Care. Under the MAC Inc. umbrella, the center provides health insurance counseling under the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which is part of the Administration of Community Living. 

SHIP Coordinator, Michelle Parker, leads the classes and also meets with people individually. 

Parker teaches locals about Medicare, “in a non-biased way that is answering questions like – what is it, what does it cost, what does it cover – I try to hit the main points so folks know what to look for and what’s coming down the pipeline.”

This initiative covers education on everything related to Medicare spanning enrollment, Medigap, part D, and claims and appeals navigation. In addition, the program also helps individuals recognize Medicare fraud and abuse so they’re not getting taken advantage of. 

“There are time frames in place when you turn 65 where you have to get this (Medicare) in place,” Parker emphasizes in regards to the importance of learning to navigate Medicare before the age of 65.

Parker recognizes that the topic of Medicare can be daunting and tries to make learning the information fun. “I try to give out surveys to see how to improve the class,” she said.

Classes have grown in size and are now usually attended by 10 to 20 participants per class. 

Parker’s focus is on the lower four counties of Maryland, but for those not living in the area, a SHIP coordinator is available in every region across the United States providing the same valuable resources.

For those who are unable to make the July presentation, the Medicare class will also be held on Friday, Aug. 11 from 10 a.m.-noon; Saturday, Sept. 30 from 2-4 p.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 10 from 5-7 p.m.