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Letters for Thursday, April 2, 2020

Repair schools while kids are at home

Now that schools are out It’s a good time to think about doing the maintenance and infrastructure on our school and public buildings (painting, repairs, etc.) . But first we need lots of testing available and way more people tested so any new cases can be more accurately tracked and recorded and we don’t increase the spread by foolishly rushing into anything. New safety guidelines for the workers can then be implemented and maybe things can begin to move forward.

In the meantime stay home and stay safe.

Wayne Zebzda, Koloa

What to do with Medicare

I am an insurance agent who helps people with Medicare. In the past week, I’ve received calls from dozens of people who are over 65, laid off and need to begin their Medicare. Since the local Social Security Office is officially closed and the 800 number is not giving real workarounds, I want to share the process for anyone who need to do this.

When you don’t get Medicare when first eligible, usually at age 65, there are two forms that must be filled out. One is 40B and one is L564. You can find them both online by Googling “CMS 40B” and “CMS L564.”) The employee losing workplace insurance completes the 40B. Someone from the employer who laid the person off must complete the L564 indicating that they person has had employer-based insurance until recently.

The next two steps are the trickiest: Though they are not published, all local Social Security offices have a direct phone number and fax number. One must track those numbers down. I know them for Kauai. The forms need to be faxed to one’s local Social Security Office. Afterwards, the applicant needs to call the office and make sure they’re received and will logged into the system so their Medicare Part B starts, usually the first day of the next month. Because, though the office is closed, at least one person is supposed to be working at each one.

Once one has Medicare Part B in place, they can choose what they need, usually a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Supplement and separate drug plan. If the person needs help making those choices, they can contact and get help from a local agent.

Also, if one is low income and asset, the state through Medquest can sometimes pay for one’s Medicare premiums and cost shares. If the person is working with an agent, they can query if they think they’ll qualify. Generally, it is best to work with an agent in your area as all Medicare plans are county and zip code based.

I hope this helps the people who need it. If anyone has other questions, they can contact me directly. My information is quite available online and on Facebook.


Jason Blake, Lihue

Insurance Agent Specializing in Medicare
Source: The Garden Island

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