Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 11, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday August 11, 2012



Dear Savvy Senior:

My wife, who’s 60, is on my health insurance plan 
through my employer. When I retire in a few 
months at 65, and go on Medicare, what happens 
to her? Do we have to purchase private insurance, 
or is there some kind of Medicare coverage for dependent 
spouses? Nearly Retired 

Dear Nearly:

Unfortunately for you and millions of other couples 
in your position, Medicare does not provide 
family coverage to younger spouses or dependent children when you qualify for Medicare. Nobody 
can obtain Medicare benefits before age 65, unless eligible at a younger age because of disability. With 
that said, here are some options for your wife depending on your situation.

Work longer: If possible, you should consider working past age 65 so your wife can continue coverage 
under your employer health insurance until she becomes eligible for Medicare, or, if that’s too long, 
at least for a few more years.

Check employer options: If your employer provides retiree health benefits, check with the benefits 
administrator to find out if they offer any options that would allow your wife to continue coverage 
under their plan. Or, if your wife works, see if she can she switch to health insurance provided by her 
own employer. 

Use COBRA: If you work for a company that has 20 or more employees, once you make the switch to 
Medicare, your wife could stay with your company insurance plan for at least 18 months (but could 
last up to 36 months) under a federal law called COBRA. You’ll need to sign her up within 60 days 
after her last day of coverage. You also need to know that COBRA is not cheap. You’ll pay the full 
monthly premium yourself, plus a 2 percent administrative fee. 

The other benefit of using COBRA is that once it expires, your wife will then become eligible for 
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which gives her right to buy an individual 
health insurance policy from a private insurer that can’t exclude or limit coverage for pre-
existing medical conditions. To learn more about COBRA, visit or call 866-444-3272. 

If, however, the company you worked for had fewer than 20 employees, you may still be able to get 
continued coverage through your company if your state has “Mini-COBRA” (39 states offer it). Contact 
your state insurance department (see to see if this is available where you live. 

Buy an individual policy: This is health insurance you buy on your own, but it too can be expensive 
depending on your wife’s health history. Any pre-existing condition such as heart disease, diabetes, 
cancer, etc., can drastically increase her premiums or can nix her chances of being accepted at all. To 
search for policy options and costs go to If you need help, contact a licensed independent 
insurance agent. See to locate one near you.

Or, if you only need health coverage for a short period of time – less than 12 months – a short-term 
policy is another lower-cost option to consider. You can get quotes and coverage details at ehealthinsurance.

Get high-risk coverage: If you can’t purchase an individual health policy for your wife because of a 
pre-existing medical condition, you can still get coverage through a state or federal high-risk pool. 

State pools, which are offered in 35 states (see, provide health insurance to any resident 
who is uninsurable because of health problems. While costs vary by state, premiums run about 150 
percent of what an individual policy costs. 

Or, consider the federal Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (see which is available 
nationwide. Created in 2010 under the health care reform law, this program is intended to bridge the 
gap until better options become available in 2014 when the main provisions of the law go into effect. 
To qualify, your wife must be uninsured for six months before applying. 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

August Birthdays

Harry Enmark, Marcia Bent, Phyllis Chapman, 
Beverly Clifton, Karlene Englert, Joan Spears, 
Barbara Godley and Jane Zamanzadeh, Phyllis 
Bugh, Mary Kay Gifford, Marjorie Peterson, Susan 
Poulsen, Genevieve Stubbs, Joseph Kiss, Patricia 


Senior Programs have returned to the Hart 
Park House enior Center, 222 W. Sierra 
Madre Blvd. in Memorial Park - Come by and 
see the changes!!

Mondays: City Hall & Lunch Café 

12 noon: Intervale Lunch Café: Come enjoy 
a hot meal with others. Donation for 
seniors (60+) of $2.00; visitors $3.75. Call 
355-0256 to make your daily reservation.


 FREE blood pressure checks by Methodist 
Hospital Nurse; 11 am to 12 noon.

1:30 pm to 3:30 pm 

BINGO; NEW TIME 1-3PM cards are 
only 25 cents each so stop by & play

5:15 pm to 6:45 pm: Yoga; $6.00 - 50 
& over. Please call 355-5278 for more 


11 –11:45 am: Balance Class with Teryl. 
FREE class designed to improve balance 
& refresh the joints

12 noon: Intervale Lunch Café; daily reservations 
needed 355-0256

2nd Wednesday of the month: FREE Legal 
Consultations: 10-11:30 am. Appointments 
call 355-7394

Wii Wednesday - 1:00 pm or call the senior 
desk at 355-7394 to arrange another 
time & day to learn how to play. No previous 
experience or skills required and it is 
great exercise.


1:00 to 3:30 pm: Game Day. Join us for 
Poker and more. Wii - 1:00 pm or call the 
senior desk at 355-7394 to arrange another 
time & day to learn how to play. No 
previous experience or skills required and 
it is great exercise. Please call for more 

Fridays: Intervale Lunch Café; daily reservations 
needed 355-0256

1:00 pm to 1:45 pm: Strength Training 
with Lisa Brandley. FREE class of stretching 
with light hand weights while you sit.

Saturdays: 11:30 am: Senior Club brown 
bag lunch and BINGO at 12:30 pm. 


Meals are delivered to home-
bound seniors by volunteer drivers 
through the YWCA Intervale 
Lunch Program M-F (with frozen meals for the 

 Call the YWCA at (626) 214-9460 for more 


Join the Senior Community Commission


 for a FREE presentation. Lunch is available 
for a $2 donation 

Call (626) 355-0256 by 

12 noon the day before. 


Tickets can now be purchased at:

Sierra Madre City Hall

Sierra Madre Library


Senior Movie Program

The Hart Park House Senior Center is starting 
a brand new monthly movie program beginning 
Wednesday, August 15. 

Each month a movie will be shown at no fee 
in the City Council Chambers located in City 

The movie for the month of August is, 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, filmed in our 
very own Sierra Madre! 

All patrons are encouraged to join us monthly 
and it’s a great way to beat the summer heat.

Location: City Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra 
Madre Blvd.

Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Cost: Free, no charge.

*Food is not allowed in the Council Chambers



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Departure: Charter bus leaves at 9:15am 
from the Hart Park House Senior Center

Boat Charter: 11:00am-12:30pm

Arrival: Charter bus will arrive back in Sierra 
Madre at approximately 3:00pm

Cost: $20 includes transportation and tip 
(Does not include lunch)

More Info: Call the Hart Park House Senior 
Center at 626-355-7394. The 90 minute 
tour views the entire harbor, including 
the 7 Islands of Newport Bay. The tour is 
narrated by the experienced Captain and 
Crew. You will get a chance to see celebrity 
homes, sea lions, and much

more! For more information on the cruise 
please visit their website at www.funzoneboats.
com. Lunch will be on your own 
from 12:30-2:00pm in Newport Beach. 
Please be sure to register early as space is

limited. Registration is available at the Hart 
Park House at 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., 
Community Recreation Center at 611 E. Sierra 
MadreBlvd. or online at www.cityofiserramadre.