Classes Help You Navigate Social Security, Medicare

BY STEVE DINNEN

You’re going to retire. Or at least turn 65.

A lot about your financial life changes at those moments, what with Social Security and Medicare likely kicking in. Even if you have a trusted financial adviser, some independent schooling will better inform you about the many options available on Social Security and on Medicare, especially its Part D and Part F benefits components.

Just in time, Des Moines Public Schools offers classes in deciphering Medicare (6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 4) and Social Security (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 6). To register for the classes, both of which will be held at Roosevelt High School, check the school district’s website, commed.dmschools.org, or call 242-8521.

The state of Iowa likewise offers independent guidance on Medicare. (Pay attention to Part D, the pharmacy benefit, which is difficult to comprehend and easy to make a mistake on. Part F, which handles supplemental coverage, is not easy, either.) There are classes nearly weekly somewhere in Iowa, run by trained volunteers with the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). Call 800-351-4664, or go to www.therightcalliowa.gov. If you’d like, you can arrange an individual consultation with a SHIIP counselor.

Once you take your first Social Security payment, you’re locked into that option. And Medicare decisions can be hard to change (you might have to qualify after the first year, should you wish to change). So these are important decisions.

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