a collection of benefits for seniors GRAYING NEW YORK

| 22 Apr 2016 | 02:01

I hope everyone knows about New York’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) Program. This plan is for New York State’s seniors and administered by the Department of Health. Since I joined years ago, it has been cut back considerably, and then in 2013 some benefits were restored. It is still very worthwhile for those over 65 on limited incomes to check out because it can help supplement their out-of-pocket Medicare Part D drug costs.

EPIC provides secondary coverage for Medicare Part D. There are income limits that are different for singles and married couples, and for different income levels. Higher income members must pay their own Part D premiums but can lower their EPIC deductible. EPIC has two plans based on income. The Fee Plan is for members with income up to $20,000 if single or $26,000 if married, and the Deductible Plan is for people with incomes ranging from $20,001 to $75,000 if single or $26,001 to $100.000 if married.

For more information e-mail eflrp@nylag.org or go to Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Program and sign up on your computer. EPIC verifies information with the Social Security Administration and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer hosted “Up With Aging” at the CUNY Graduate Center on March 20 and drew a crowd of more than 700 seniors to listen to information about brain health and aging. A senior expo followed and included information, services, activities and exhibits from many presenters regarding the brain and aging and participate in events including yoga, tai chi, zumba and drumming.

A wonderfully informative booklet was available for the taking, and it’s well worth getting if you weren’t at the event. It’s called “Age-Smart Manhattan: Senior Resources for Better Living” and includes everything from benefits for seniors, senior health and housing, long term care and much more. Call Gale Brewer’s office at 212-669-8300 or e-mail info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov

You might want to know about HIICAP, the Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program of The New York State Office for the Aging. HIICAP provides free information, counseling, assistance and advocacy on Medicare, private health insurance and other health plans. HIICAP helps people with Medicare questions for those already on Medicare or soon to be eligible. You can Google HIICAP and find out more about the program.

Geriatricians can be vital for seniors as they acquire more and more conditions related to old age and are usually going to several doctors, one for each condition. A geriatrician can coordinate the care, make sure the medications don’t work against each other, and in general be the gatekeeper for medical care for the elderly. Unfortunately, it isn’t a lucrative field for young doctors and isn’t as glamorous as fields that offer higher chances of a cure and more use of flashy new technology.

Also, geriatrics is often dependent on Medicare and the headaches that go along with it. Geriatricians are attuned to age-related changes, help with realistic goals for treating and relieving the problems of aging, and tend to treat their patients more as individuals than as simply chances to use new machines and technologies. New York City is fortunate to have a world-famous geriatric center at Mount Sinai Hospital. The Martha Stewart Center for Living (MSCL) is a state-of-the-art geriatric outpatient center located at Mount Sinai’s main campus on the Upper East Side. Also, in 2012, the Mount Sinai Department of Emergency Medicine opened New York City’s first Geriatric Emergency Department at Madison Avenue and 101st Street. Here’s hoping other cities follow this example.

Happy spring at last to all. I think we’ve earned it. Off with the coats, scarves and mittens. On with the sandals bright new colors. Hope to see you at the Botanical Gardens Rose Festival in June.