Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare is health insurance for U.S. citizens age 65 and above and for those under 65 with certain disabilities or conditions.  If you are new to Medicare services, click here for a basic overview of the programs.  For a more detailed overview, click here to view the Guide to Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Options, and Part D.

Every year, Medicare plans change what they cost and also what they cover.  Beginning November 15, 2010, all people with Medicare should review their current coverage, learn about any changes for the coming year, and choose the Medicare plan that works best for them.  For more information on how to approach and conduct your yearly plan review, view this publication and visit this site.

This year, the Affordable Care Act provides important new benefits to most people with Medicare starting in January 2011.  For instance, in 2011, if you hit the prescription drug donut hole (or Part D coverage gap), you will get a 50% discount on brand-name drugs. Every year after, you will pay less for your prescription drugs in the donut hole until there’s complete coverage of the donut hole in 2020. Between now and then, you will get continuous Medicare coverage for your prescription drugs.  To view additional ways to lower your prescription costs during the coverage gap, click here.  The Affordable Care Act also brings provisions for free annual wellness visits and free mammograms, colonoscopies and other screenings. To view more information on Medicare and changes in the new health law, click here.

To compare different Medicare plans and choose the best one for you, click here.

If you need any help or information regarding Medicare, the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program is an excellent resource.  Their toll-free hotline provides free information about Medicare programs and services.  Call 1-800-686-1578. 

Finally, there is a large library of information on various topics related to Medicare on their website.  Click here to view, download, print, and order these publications. 

Source:  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ohio PIPP PLUS and E-HEAP Utility Assistance Programs


There's good news for individuals and families seeking assistance with utility payments in Ohio.  The new PIPP Plus program begins November 1st, along with the Emergency Home Energy Assistance (E-HEAP) or "Winter Crisis Program". 

PIPP Plus replaces the old Percentage of Income Payment Plan program (PIPP), which seeks to provide an affordable payment option for gas and electric service to low-income households.  The new program offers some significant improvements over the old one.  For instance, under the traditional PIPP program, if a consumer owed $100 on their gas or electric bill for the month, they might have to pay only $10 to retain service and avoid a shutoff, but the unpaid $90 balance would accrue as debt with the utility company.  Under the new PIPP Plus program, if the consumer pays their PIPP Plus amount on time, the remainder of the bill is forgiven permanently.  There are also opportunities for households with existing overdue balances to gradually have those balances forgiven if they make their PIPP Plus payments on time each month for a period of months. 

For more information on PIPP Plus programs, click here, or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880  (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday).  To watch a short video on the new PIPP Plus program, click here.

The Winter Crisis (E-HEAP) program "provides assistance once per heating season to eligible households that are disconnected, threatened with disconnection, or have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel."  Applications for the Winter Crisis Program will be accepted November 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011. 

For information on the Winter Crisis Program in Ohio, including eligibility requirements, click here or call HEAP toll-free at (800) 282-0880  (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday). 

In order to apply for either or both of these programs, residents must contact their local authorized provider agency.  New applicants must complete some paperwork; returning PIPP applicants must re-verify their income annually.

To locate your local Emergency HEAP/Winter Crisis Program agency in Ohio, click here.

Residents of Summit County should contact Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. at 330-376-7730.

The Regular HEAP Program, which provides a one-time credit on heating bills to eligible individuals, is also  taking applications between  August 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011.  You may download or print an application by clicking here.  Applications are also available at most libraries and other government buildings or by calling your local community action agency.

There are a number of other helpful programs for assistance with home weatherization and furnace repair (HWAP, EPP), energy assistance for senior citizens, and the Winter Reconnect Order through the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.  For more information on the programs mentioned in this post as well as other programs, visit this excellent website:  Ohio Winter Heating Resource Center.

Source:  Ohio Department of Development and Ohio.gov.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Children's Mental Health Week

The Coalition for Children's Mental Health celebrates Children's Mental Health Week from October 17-23, 2010 in Hudson, Ohio.
2010 Theme: Celebrate Our Differences

Children's Poster Contest: Open to Hudson students in grades 4-12
Community Heroes Awards Banquet: Thursday, October 21, 6:30pm at Clarion Inn, Hudson.

For more information on children's mental health, including local services, visit:

ADM Board Service Directory

Akron Children's Hospital KidsHealth Library

Blick Clinic

Child Guidance & Family Solutions

Greenleaf Family Center

For further information or questions about local services, please contact us at 330-650-4048 ext. 463.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Summit County Community Legal Clinic

Friday, October 22 - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 8:30am - 4:30pm

Join Legal Aid and community partners at this National Pro Bono Week 2010 event! Legal Aid volunteers and staff will offer advice and counsel to our neighbors, and vendors will have information about available local services.

Where: The Job Center • 1040 East Tallmadge Avenue • Akron, OH

When: No need to register! Drop by anytime. You don't need to call ahead.

Questions? Call 330-983-2695 or 877-401-0088

Source: Community Legal Aid

Monday, October 4, 2010

What is Community Legal Aid?

Community Legal Aid is a non-profit law firm which:

•Specializes in poverty law and is devoted to providing free, high-quality civil legal services to eligible clients.
•Is dedicated to providing legal advice, information and representation as assistance for those seeking to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.
•Provides information about laws and the legal system to those who work with the poor and elderly so that they may better serve their clients.
•Is a non-profit corporation governed by local lawyers, members of the client community and others concerned about equal access to justice.
They handle a variety of different cases, including consumer rights, family, housing, foreclosure, health, education, public benefits, wills, probate and taxes.  They do not handle criminal cases.

Our local office serves clients from the following counties:  Columbiana, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne.

For assistance, call the Legal Aid HelpLine at 1-800-998-9454, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, or apply for help online.

Worried About Losing Your Home? Get free legal advice from Community Legal Aid before a foreclosure is filed. Call Becky Walters at 330.983.2532 or 866.584.2350 x 2532.

To view a calender of upcoming free legal clinics for low income citizens, click here.

Visit their extensive online legal self-help library by clicking here.

Community Legal Aid also provides free community education programs for groups.  For information on their speaker's bureau, click here.  A list of presentation topics can be found here.

For additional information on legal self-help, or to locate the Ohio Legal Aid office nearest you, click here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Alzheimer's Association 2010 Memory Walk

We're on the MOVE to end Alzheimer's!

If you're the kind of person who's not going to sit on the sidelines when there's a chance to change the future, then you're the person we need. With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, and nearly 10 million more serving as caregivers, the time to act is now!
When you register for the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk®, you're joining a nationwide community of thousands of people who are standing up and participating in the fight against this devastating disease.

Where:  Blossom Music Center, 1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223

When:  Saturday, October 2, 2010;  Check-In: 8:30 a.m.;  Walk Begins: 9:30 a.m.

Length:  Approx. 2 miles (You do not have to walk the entire distance to participate)

Although there is no registration fee for this event, we encourage all of our walkers to raise money for the cause. Raise $100 or more and receive a 2010 Memory Walk T-shirt!

Contact:   Call or Email the Greater East Ohio Area Chapter at (330) 864-5646 or cindy.baker@alz.org

Click here for more information.

Source:  Alzheimer's Association of Greater East Ohio

Monday, September 20, 2010

Medicare Check-up Event

Do you need accurate, unbiased information about Medicare and the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit? Get the answers you need this fall with Medicare Check-Up Days, a series of community events presented by the Ohio Department of Insurance and its Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP).  On-site enrollment is offered at most events starting Nov. 15.

Summit County — Twinsburg
Weds. Nov. 17; 10 a.m.

Twinsburg Public Library
10050 Ravenna Rd.
Education, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Counseling, by appointment only, noon - 4 p.m. Call (330) 425-4268

For a listing of Medicare Check-up Events in other Ohio counties, click here.

For more information on Medicare, click here.

The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), founded in 1992, is a state and federally funded program that educates, counsels and advocates for Medicare beneficiaries. OSHIIP assists Ohio Medicare beneficiaries and their family members through a toll free hotline at 1-800-686-1578, the Department web site, a speakers’ bureau, educational publications, and a network of approximately 1,200 statewide trained and certified volunteers.  This is an extremely reliable and valuable resource for anyone with questions about Medicare services and plans. 

To contact OSHIIP, click here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Free Mental Health Conference: Advancing the Recovery Culture

The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation presents:

Advancing the Recovery Culture

Monday, September 20, 2010 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
NEOUCOM Conference Center 4209 SR 44 Rootstown, OH 44272
Registration ends September 10, 2010
5.5 CEU's for nurses, social workers, counselors and psychologists
• Persons in recovery
• Mental and Behavioral health care professionals
• Business and community leaders
• Educators and students
• Family members
• Community advocates
• Policy makers and law enforcement
• Anyone interested in recovery
For more information or to register online, click here.
Link to printable conference brochure.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ohio Veterans Bonus Program

Ohio Veterans are encouraged to visit this website to see if they are eligible for the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program.  Veterans may be eligible for a bonus if they served in the United States Armed Forces on active duty anywhere in the world for purposes other than training between August 2, 1990 and March 3, 1991 or any time since October 7, 2001.  An estimated 200,000 Ohio residents are eligible for the Ohio Veterans Bonus.

Applications are available at http://www.veteransbonus.ohio.gov/, or at any of Ohio’s 88 County Veterans Services Offices. Or call 1-877-OHIO VET (1-877-644-6838) to get a paper application. Click here for a printable application.  In most cases, applying on-line is the simplest and fastest option.

Our local veterans service office in Summit County is:

Summit County Veteran Services
1060 E. Waterloo Rd.
Akron, OH 44306-1990
Phone: (330) 643-2830
Fax: (330) 643-8779 http://www.vscsummitoh.us/

Other Ohio county veterans services offices can by found by clicking here.

There also are other bonuses available to eligible veterans or the families of deceased veterans. For these eligibility details and specifications, please click here

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Quit Smoking Classes

FREE Quit-Smoking classes are offered by the Summit County Tobacco Prevention Coalition at locations throughout the county. All classes are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please call (330)861-7179.

The class follows the America Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking Program. Class participants learn various techniques, such as ways to cope with cravings, how to create a plan for quitting, and identifying trigger situations.  Classes meet for 1 1/2 hours, once a week for 6 weeks or 7 sessions for biweekly clinics. Instructors are Certified Mayo Clinic Treatment Specialists that utilize the nationally recognized and copyrighted ALA Freedom From Smoking Program. There is no need to quit smoking before you attend the first class. Quit day is the fourth session of the program.

Click here for the fall schedule of classes for Summit County residents.

If you are interested in hosting a class at your workplace, community center, or place of worship, please call 330-375-2109.

Pfizer is offering coupons for $30 off Chantix prescriptions until 12/31/10.  See here for details.

Source:  Summit County Health Department, Akron Health Department

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home Energy Assistance Program

Applications for the 2010-2011 Home Energy Assistance Program will be accepted August 1, 2010 through May 31, 2011. The total household income of an applicant must be at or below 200 percent of the Federal Fiscal Year 2010 federal poverty guidelines in order to qualify. 

Household Size    Yearly Income
         1                   $21,660.00
         2                   $29,140.00
         3                   $36,620.00
         4                   $44,100.00
         5                   $51,580.00
         6                   $59,060.00
         7                   $66,540.00
         8                   $74,020.00

Click here for a printable application form. 

For more information, call HEAP toll-free at 1-800-282-0880 during regular business hours (7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) Monday through Friday.

HEAP applications can also be completed online free of charge with assistance from a trained volunteer by making an appointment with an Ohio Benefit Bank site near you.  Our office is the Hudson/Northern Summit County Ohio Benefit Bank site.  Please call us at 330-650-4048 ext. 463 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summit County Health District Adult Dental Clinic

August 2010 Adult Dental Clinic Flyer

Summit For Kids

10:00am - 4:00pm Saturday, August 21, 2010
J.S. Knight Center - 77 E. Mill St. Akron, OH 44308

Summit for Kids offers a fun-filled day for the entire family! Admission is FREE.  Families from Summit and surrounding counties are welcome.  Don’t miss:

FREE immunizations
•FREE dental services for kids ages 3 – 6
•FREE physicals
•FREE school supplies

•Teen fashion show presented by Plato’s Closet at 1pm
•Meet-and-greets with:
    ◦Diego from Nickelodeon
    ◦Word Girl from Western Reserve PBS
    ◦Ronald McDonald
    ◦Zippy from The University of Akron
•Crafts and activities for children
•Educational sessions for parents
•Entertainment, including musicians and dance groups
… and much more!
Click here for a full list of organizations scheduled to have information booths at the event.  For information, please call 330.643.2949.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Giant Eagle Offers Free Medicines, Supplies and Other Services for Diabetes Patients

Through their new Diabetes Care Program, Giant Eagle Pharmacies are offering five generic diabetes drugs free to patients with a prescription.  Click here for a list of the medications.

In addition, they will be offering free glucose and A1C screenings and consultation with one of their Giant Eagle Pharmacy Diabetes Care Specialists for individuals 18 years of age and older at all pharmacy locations throughout the month of August.  Click here for schedule.

On Wednesday, September 22nd from 12:00 - 1:00 pm, there will be a free nutrition class taught by a registered dietician for those interested in diabetes management at the Stow Giant Eagle.  Click here to register.

Individuals can also receive a free Giant Eagle True-Track glucometer through participating Giant Eagle pharmacies.  The program is open to any diabetes patient regardless of insurance or income.  The Stow-Hudson Giant Eagle on Norton Road is a participating pharmacy for this program.  Please call 330-650-4093 or stop in for more information. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back To School Giveaway for Families in Need

Everything is FREE

Saturday July 31st  from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Cornerstone Free Methodist Church
578 Killian Rd

Akron, Ohio 44319

School Supplies including backpacks
New socks and underwear
Hair cuts/Dental/Medical

Free lunch
Personal care/Toiletries
Baby items
Teddy bear picnic, inflatables
Social service agencies on hand with information on assistance programs

You must bring your children with you in order to receive backpacks/school supplies.
Call the church at 330-644-3937 for more information.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Free Educational Program on Dementia for Family Caregivers

The Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc. is partnering with the Alzheimer's Association to offer the following free educational program at various locations in Northeast Ohio in August and September:

"Reaching Older Adults with Dementia:  A look into The 36 Hour Day"

All attendees will receive a free copy of the excellent caregiver resource book, The 36 Hour Day, compliments of the Area Agency on Aging 10B.

The program will be offered on Tuesday, August 5th in Cuyahoga Falls and Ravenna.

First United Methodist Church
245 Portage Trail, Cuyahoga Falls
1:00 p.m.

Robinson Medical Arts Building
6847 N. Chestnut St., Rm 25, Ravenna
6:30 p.m.

For more information and a list of additional locations and dates, click here.

To register, call 1-800-272-3900 or email Jennifer.miller@alz.org.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Smart Money Choices 2010 Akron Area Conference

Presented by the Ohio Treasury

Participate in a FREE half or full day personal finance seminar focusing on Budgeting, Credit and Debt Management, Retirement Planning and more!

Date: July 16, 2010

Quaker Square Inn – University of Akron
135 S. Broadway St.
Akron, Ohio 44308

Participants will have an opportunity to attend a morning, afternoon, or full-day session of workshops; and can choose from the following topics: Budgeting, Credit & Debt Management, Consumer Fraud, Estate Planning, Insurance, Investments, Kids & Money, Programs to Help Ohioans, Retirement Planning, and Social Security. To see a full schedule for of classes for the day, click here. For course descriptions, click here.

8:00 am—11:45 am (Registration at 7:30 am)
1:00 pm—4:45 pm (Registration at 12:30 pm)

Conference Registration Opens June 14, 2010

For more information or to register, visit www.ohiotreasurer.gov. or call 1-800-228-1102.

Space is limited.

Sources: Ohio Treasurer's Office, Community Legal Aid

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stewart's Caring Place

Stewart's Caring Place in Akron is a wonderful resource for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer. Patients, caregivers, and survivors can all find something of interest and lots of support available here.
ALL programs and services are provided FREE OF CHARGE, and include things like:
  • support groups and counseling
  • healing therapies (massage, yoga, reiki, etc.)
  • lectures and workshops
  • disability/nutrition/estate planning and other consults
  • spa nights and free wigs, hats & turbans
  • childrens' programs and camps, child life specialist consultations
  • resource library and information
and much more.

Here is information on an upcoming workshop on Spirituality and Cancer:

Thursday, July 1, 2010
9:00am - 10:30am

A group for those on the cancer journey who are interested in exploring and talking about spirituality. This interfaith group is co-facilitated by Eileen Schonfeld, RN, and Lin Barnett. Light breakfast will be served.

Please register for this program or find out more about Stewart's Caring Place by calling 330-836-1772, or see their website.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Help is Available for Summer Cooling Bills

The Summit County HEAP Program is now taking applications for assistance with summer energy bills for qualifying residents.  "Through the Summer Crisis Program (SCP), assistance is made to eligible households with an electric utility payment [up to $175]. The Summer Crisis Program is available from June through August."  Please call the appointment line at 1-866-504-7400 for more information. 

Source:  Akron Summit Community Action & Infoline

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dental Access Now! Seeks Your Help in Advocating for Dental Care Access for All

 "Dental health is Ohio's top unmet health need, with access to affordable care beyond the reach of too many Ohio residents. Ohio has 56 federally designated dental health professional shortage areas, mostly due to inadequate numbers of dentists who serve rural and low-income patients.

The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF) has joined Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN) of Ohio and other organizations throughout the state to form Dental Access Now!, a state-wide response to the dental crisis facing Ohio.

The dental care shortage impacts the most vulnerable the hardest:

Children and families of color
-Twenty five percent of Ohio third graders have untreated cavities;
-Only 50% of Black and Hispanic residents have had a dental visit in the past year, compared to more than 60% of non-Hispanic white Ohio residents.

In Appalachian counties and rural Ohio

-Just over half of Appalachian residents and only sixty percent of rural Ohioans had a dental visit in the past year.

Persons with disabilities

-Dental care is one of the most needed services for people with disabilities, because of difficulties in finding providers who can meet their needs and funding limitations in Medicaid.

The undereducated poor

-Eighty percent of Ohio adults with a college degree had a dental visit in the past year. In the same timeframe, only twenty-five percent of those with no high school diploma visited a dentist.

OASHF needs your help! We are calling for individual or family stories of people who are suffering or have suffered with a dental issue."  Click on this link to download a story bank form and submit your story.  

Source:  Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF)

New Workshop: Writing a Spiritual Autobiography

The Center for Healthy Aging in Kent, Ohio is offering this upcoming writing workshop:

Writing a spiritual autobiography: Paving a path for spiritual growth and psychological well-being
"If you wish to gain insight into your spirituality from your past and your present as well as enhance your psychological well-being, this 3 session writing program is for you. Limited to 12 participants; no previous writing experience is needed. Individuals from all faith traditions are welcome."
When: Fridays, July 9th, 16th, and 23rd from 10:30 to 1:00 pm
Cost:  $75 before 6/20; $100 after 6/20.
Click this link for more information:  Center for Healthy Aging

Monday, June 7, 2010

Budgeting and Surviving Debt Workshop

Budgeting and Surviving Debt
Worried about your personal or household budget? Don’t have a budget? Get some practical tips on budgeting basics and ways to save when money is tight.
Main Branch Library
Akron-Summit County Public Library
60 South High Street, Meeting Room 1
The event is open to the public and is FREE.

Date:  Thursday June 17, 2010 @ 6pm
For more information, contact Christine Gilley at (330) 643-2879.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs

This is a very helpful website overall, and I want to draw attention to this particular page, where there are informative handouts available for printing regarding scams including those targeted towards older adults. To review prior Consumer News or Consumer Alerts, please visit:

Additional consumer-oriented fact sheets are available here:

This office provides speakers for groups and meetings as well.

For more information or to be added to an email list for future consumer alerts, contact the office at:

175 South Main Street, Suite 209
Akron, OH 44308
(330) 643-2879
Email: consumeraffairs@summitoh.net