2006-10-18 / Seniors

Senior Spotlight

NY Urban League Senior Services Dept. Moves HQ
By John Toscano

With the goal of serving more seniors, the New York Urban League Service for Seniors department moved into larger offices in Corona last Friday.

The organization has been serving Elmhurst, Flushing, Whitestone, Bayside, Jackson Heights and Corona seniors, providing case assistance and coordinates, Meals-on- Wheels, housekeeping and homecare services for homebound seniors since 1978. Its client load is now up to 1,000, so it has moved into a former movie theater at 103-24 Roosevelt Ave., Corona from its former quarters on 34th Avenue, also in Corona.

"We'll be able to serve more people here," David Schneier, an official at the agency, said.

Founded in 1919 by an interracial group, the mission of the New York Urban League has been to serve the African-American community and the disadvantaged. Besides the previously noted senior programs, it also operates a Fair Housing program in Queens and Manhattan to assist tenants facing housing actions and evictions or discrimination and unfair housing practices.

The League can be reached at 718-429- 3700.

PART D ENROLLMENT COMING UP: The signup period for Part D Medicare for 2007 starts on November 15 and ends December 31, so sign up during that period or face a penalty.

In New York State, 61 drug plans are being offered, 15 more than last year. The average monthly premium is $24, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, which operates Part D.

Officials at that agency said if a senior is happy with the program he or she had during this year and wants to continue in it, nothing need be done.

However, some senior advocates advise against complacency. They say make sure you know all the changes your plan has announced for 2007 before you make a decision to stay with the plan. There may be changes in copayments or premium payments, or whether the member pays for the "donut hole" coverage or the insurer does. Some plans will pay for the donut hole in 2007, so seniors should try to find out which plans will do so before making a final decision whether to sign up for a plan.

The 2006 plans stipulated that when a member's drug costs reached $2,250, the member had to pay the full costs for medication up to $5,100, which came out to $2,850. This year, that gap, or "donut hole," will be reached as the member pays the first $2,400 of the plan and end when payments reach $5,451.25, a total of $3,051.25.

Some plans pay for this entire cost, some pay for a portion of it, and some pay nothing at all. Check carefully when selecting a plan.

Medicare officials have already posted materials online to help members research all the plans that are available. The information can be accessed at www.medicare.gov. The officials say they have made the online plan finder easier to use, so give it a look.

DISABLED RALLY: Fed up with out-ofservice elevators in the city's subway system, the Disabled Riders Coalition, joined by City Councilmember John Liu (D-Flushing) held a rally last week in Manhattan to blast the MTA over its failure to maintain subway elevators.

Liu, chairman of the council Transportaton Committee, stated: "Today [Thursday, October 12] marks the eighth week in a period during which there has not been a single day with less than 10 subway stations impacted by broken elevators. On some days, records show outages at double that number, with 22 on one day. Of the city's 468 stations, only 53 accessible subway stations are [truly] accessible."

An official of the Disabled Riders Coalition said that among the stations impacted by elevator outages was the Roosevelt Island/21st Street station in Long Island City, Queens, as reported on the TA's elevator hotline.

HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIR: Joyce Farrell, program manager at the Steinway Senior Citizen Center, reports that the Holiday Craft Fair at the center, 20-43 Steinway St., Astoria is set for November 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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