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Health and Human Services

Contacts: Kathy Barton
Porfirio Villarreal

Bilingual workshops to help low-income seniors enroll in Medicare programs

Two free workshops will enroll low-income seniors in Medicare programs that help pay for prescription drugs and medical and hospital insurance.

The workshops are set from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Aug. 31 at the Jewish Community Center, 5601 S. Braeswood Blvd., and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sept. 15 at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, 4605 Wilmington. The workshops will include presentations and discussions in English and Spanish.    

Participants in the “Act Now: Your Health Matters” workshops will learn how to sign up for Extra Help, a program that helps pay Medicare Part D prescription drug costs.

They will also receive advice about enrolling in Medicare Savings Programs—state programs that provide help with other Medicare costs. Those costs include premiums, deductibles and co-payments for medical insurance, known as Medicare Part B, and for hospital insurance, known as Medicare Part A.

The workshop will also offer information on nutrition, fitness and wellness.

The Care Connection Aging and Disability Resource Center will sponsor the workshop. The center is a Houston Department of Health and Human Services program designed to raise awareness of the full range of aging and disability resources and support services in Houston and 13 adjacent Gulf Coast counties.

HDHHS recommends participants take their Medicare card, Texas ID and information about their income and assets to the workshops.

Approximately 5,600 of the 20,500 seniors in Texas eligible for Extra Help reside in Harris County, the highest of any county. Seniors enrolling in the program could see savings of up to $3,900 on prescription drug expenses per year.

Eligibility criteria for Extra Help include a total monthly income of less than $1,354 per month if single or $1,821 per month if married or living with a spouse. Assets must also total less than $12,640 if single and $25,260 for a married couple. Assets include savings, stocks and bonds, but not a home or a car.

Low-income seniors may be eligible for Medicare Savings Programs such as the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program and Qualified Individual.

An estimated 348,450 seniors age 65 and older reside in Harris County. Approximately 13 percent of them live in poverty.

People under 65 with disabilities and those with end-stage renal disease also qualify to receive Medicare benefits.

For more information, contact Annette Offord at 832-393-5495 or