Its the time of year where a lot of us sign up for healthcare benefits at work. Its the same time retirees choose their medicare options for the coming year. Making the right choices can be a complex process for retirees and family members who may try to help.

Its time for retired teacher Connie Wilt to review and maybe change her Medicare for next year.

She laughs as she tells us, Id like for it to be easier than it is.

And she is not alone. Medicare can be full of complex options described in an eyeglazing mix of government, medical, and insurance jargon.

Thats why Pima Council on Aging came to La Posada in the Green Valley-Sahuarita area to help people there thread their way through the Medicare maze.

Program CoOrdinator Linda Khumalo offers Medicare advice not connected to any of the insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plansand she says in PIma County, besides traditional Medicare there will be 21 Medicare Advantage plans to choose from this coming year.

Khumalo says some plans offer attractive extras but first make sure a plan covers your doctor and your medications and be sure none of that changed with the new plan year.

She asks: Whats more important is, do your doctors accept that plan? Will it cover the medications youve been taking last year? If youve picked up new medications will those be covered with this open enrollment?

Pima Council on Aging puts on help sessions like the one at La Posada, and offers Medicare advice if you just give them a call.

Khumalo says, This is where, again, we simplify and demystify the whole thing for you. Well do the plan finder, enter all your prescriptions for you and tell you what works for you.

Connie Wilt says so far her Medicare sign ups have gone smoothly but it will still be a relief when shes made her choices for the year.

KGUN reporter Craig Smith asked: What would your advice be for someone who is at this decision point right now?

She laughed and said, Do the best they can and find out as much information as possible.


For more Medicare help you can call directly to Pima Council on Agings Medicare/SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) at (520) 546-2011 or email to