demystifying medicare

People on Medicare can make changes to their health insurance during Open Enrollment, which begins October 15th and runs through December 7th. The Westchester Library System is here to help, with its free live workshops and online version. “Demystifying Medicare” is for anyone who needs to understand how Medicare works. It’s not only for people who are considering changes to their current coverage, but for those who are soon to be Medicare-eligible, approaching retirement, or helping relatives or friends with their medical decisions and paperwork.

All the currently scheduled in-person events are listed at the bottom of the library’s webpage There you can also access an online version and work through this complicated subject at your own pace, beginning with a 5-minute video on how to get the best out of the audio chapters, displays and handouts that match the ones used in the live workshops. A complete understanding of the whole system is key to making the best personal health coverage choices. Topics include Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans, Medigaps (supplemental plans), EPIC, and cost-saving programs for people with limited resources. There’s also a new .pdf on “Medicare and COVID,” which outlines the relaxation of some of Medicare’s rules during the public health emergency.

In a non-COVID universe, WLS works year-round in other ways to help people understand Medicare and the health insurance industry. It runs free Senior Benefits Individual Counseling centers (SBICs) at two libraries throughout the year, where people can get answers to their coverage and billing questions on a first-come, first-served basis. The volunteers in this program have been trained and updated monthly with materials from the Medicare Rights Center, a NYC advocacy group not affiliated with the insurance companies or with Medicare itself. For individual help, you can call the SBIC helpline at (914) 231-3260 or email them at Like the workshops, the counseling is also free.

To sign up for live workshops, please leave your name and number at (914) 231-3236 or email And to explore the library’s full range of informational services for seniors, please visit

The DM workshop outlines the various parts of Medicare and lays out the costs associated with health insurance provided by the government and private companies. Topics include: Original Medicare, Advantage Plans, Prescription drug plans (Part D), Medigaps (supplemental plans), and various cost-saving programs (MSPs, Extra Help, EPIC, etc.). Walk-ins welcome, but pre-registration
is requested at (914) 231-3236.

Sat., 9/25, 1 – 4pm NEW ROCHELLE
New Rochelle Public Library, 1 Library Plaza
Sun., 9/26, 1:15 – 4:15pm MONTROSE
Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Rd
Mon., 9/27, 6:30 – 9:30pm ELMSFORD
Westchester Library System, 570 Taxter Rd, 4th fl.

Thurs., 9/30, 5:45 – 8:45pm OSSINING
Ossining Public Library, 53 Croton Ave.
Sat., 10/2, 10 – 1pm NORTH SALEM
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library, 276 Titicus Rd
Sun., 10/3, 1 – 4pm YONKERS
Will Library, Flynn Room, 1500 Central Park Ave.
Tues., 10/5, 6:30 – 9:30pm CROTON
Municipal Building, Community Rm, 1 Van Wyck
Wed., 10/6, 5:45 – 8:45 pm HARRISON
Harrison Public Library, Halperin Blg, 2 Bruce Ave.
Thurs., 10/7, 10am – 1pm BRIARCLIFF
Briarcliff Manor Public Library, 1 Library Rd
Wed., 10/13, 6:30 – 9:30pm ELMSFORD
Westchester Library System, 570 Taxter Rd, 4th fl.
SOMERS Sat., 10/16, 10:15am – 1:15pm
Somers Library, 82 Primrose St., Katonah
IRVINGTON Tues., 10/19, 5:45 – 8:45pm
Irvington Public Library, 12 Astor Pl.
DOBBS FERRY Sat., 10/23, 10:15am – 1:15pm
Dobbs Ferry Public Library, 55 Main St.
SOUTH SALEM Sat., 10/30, 10:15am – 1:15pm
Lewisboro Library, 15 Main St.
SHRUB OAK Sun., 10/31, 12:30 – 3:30pm
John C. Hart Memorial Library, 1130 Main St.

SCARSDALE Wed., 11/3, 6:15 – 9:15pm
Scarsdale Public Library, 54 Olmsted Rd
ARMONK Sat., 11/6, 12 noon – 3pm
North Castle Public Library, 19 Whippoorwill Rd
PELHAM Mon., 11/8, 5:45 – 8:45pm
Town of Pelham Public Library, 530 Colonial Ave.
CORTLANDT Tues., 11/9, 6:30 – 9:30pm
Cortlandt Town Hall, 1 Heady St., Conference Rm
CROTON Sun., 11/14, 1 – 4pm
Municipal Building, Community Room, 1 Van Wyck St.

ELMSFORD Tues., 11/16, 1 – 4pm
Westchester Library System, 570 Taxter Rd, 4th fl.

Senior Benefits Individual Counseling (SBIC) is provided by WLS volunteers trained in Medicare and related HC issues. Get free, individual walk-in help at two libraries each week, or contact their helpline at or (914) 231-3260. For information about other senior information resources, please visit
Please check with the venue before attending to make sure event hasn’t been postponed.

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